WWII aircraft carrier with Chicago ties discovered

Tuesday, March 06, 2018 04:18PM
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said his team discovered the wreckage more than 500 miles off Australia's eastern coast.

CHICAGO - More than 75 years after sinking in the May 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea, the USS Lexington has been found off the coast of Australia, according to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In an online statement, Allen said his crew aboard the R/V Petrel discovered the wreckage roughly two miles below the surface along with 11 of the airplanes that went down with it.

This famed aircraft carrier also has a Chicago connection by way of a well known name: O'Hare. Lieutenant Edward "Butch" O'Hare, namesake for Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, received the Medal of Honor for courageously defending the Lexington on February 20, 1942, just months before it sank.

The Naval History and Heritage Command's website said "without supporting aircraft and without hesitation, he challenged 9 enemy bombers headed for the carrier Lexington. For his daring and skill in shooting down 5 of the enemy planes and thus saving the carrier from serious damage," he was awarded the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony.

Allen's statement reads in part, '"To pay tribute to the USS Lexington and the brave men that served on her is an honor,"' said Paul Allen. '"As Americans, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who served and who continue to serve our country for their courage, persistence and sacrifice."'

In the statement, Allen's subsea operations director, Robert Kraft, added that they've been planning to locate the Lexington for six months.
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