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High Noon on the Coral Sea: How One of America's Most Legendary Aircraft Carriers Was Sunk

High Noon on the Coral Sea: How One of America's Most Legendary Aircraft Carriers Was Sunk

On March 4, 2018 the wreck the U.S. Navy’s first fleet carrier was recovered in the Coral Sea. An earlier article details the design and early service of the Lexington. This piece describes her fateful role in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

However, the seemingly inconclusive battle was a turning point for the Allies. Australia and its foothold in New Guinea remained secure, forcing Japanese forces to commit to a costly and ultimately unsuccessful ground campaign on the latter island. Meanwhile, the damaged Shokaku could not participate in the Battle of Midway, an even larger carrier battle that brought an end to Japan’s advances in the Pacific War.

America’s first fleet carrier had fallen fighting precisely the kind of battle it had spent over a decade developing tactics for. Just a year later, a new Essex-class carrier was christened USS Lexington (CV-16), and would remain in U.S. Navy service until 1991.

Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Image: Wikimedia Commons