Lexington file photo [2295]

Lexington (Lexington-class)

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassLexington-class Aircraft Carrier
BuilderBethlehem Fore River Shipyard
Laid Down8 Jan 1921
Launched3 Oct 1925
Commissioned14 Dec 1927
Sunk8 May 1942
Displacement49,000 tons standard
Length888 feet
Beam106 feet
Draft24 feet
Machinery16 Yarrow boilers, 4 General Electric steam turbines, four main drive motors, 4 shafts
Power Output180,000 shaft horsepower
Speed34 knots
Range10,000nm at 10 knots
Armament4x8in twin-mounted 55-cal guns, 12x5in guns
Armor5-7in belt, 2in 3rd deck, 3-4.5in steering gear


ww2dbaseThe two Lexington-class ships were originally designed as battle cruisers, but on 1 Jul 1922 they were reclassified as aircraft carriers after the recent aircraft innovations. Her powerplant was enormous. In the winter of 1929-1930, a power shortage materialized in Tacoma, Washington United States. Lexington was called in to provide electric power to the city for thirty days. Between her launch and WW2, she participated in the annual fleet problems at Hawaii, in the Caribbean Sea, off the Panama Canal Zone, and in the eastern Pacific.

ww2dbaseAt the start of the Pacific War, Lexington narrowly missed destruction at Pearl Harbor. She was at sea with Task Force 12 carrying Marine aircraft from Pearl Harbor to Midway when the Japanese struck. She launched aircraft to hunt for the retreating Japanese fleet, but returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 Dec 1941 without success. On 14 Dec, she sailed to relieve Wake by attacking the Japanese garrison on Jaluit, then on 20 Dec the mission was changed to directly support Wake, but the mission was ultimately canceled as Wake fell on 23 Dec. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 27 Dec.

ww2dbaseIn Jan 1942, Lexington became the flagship of Vice Admiral Wilson Brown of Task Force 11. In this role, she was attacked by Japanese aircraft while en route to Rabaul, but her aircraft performed superbly and averted any damage on the carrier.

ww2dbaseBetween Feb and early Mar 1942, Lexington performed patrols in and near Coral Sea, launching aircraft to support New Guinea when call upon. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 26 mar. She left Pearl Harbor on 15 Apr and joined Task Force 17 on 1 May. Task Force 17 then sailed for Coral Sea to respond to a potential Japanese fleet movement.

ww2dbaseWhen the American and Japanese fleets met, the ensuing action later became known as the Battle of Coral Sea. On 7 May 1942, Lexington's air group scored the first sinking of the battle, destroying the light carrier Shoho. Later in that day, her aircraft also played a major part in destroying 9 out of the 27 attack aircraft from Shokaku and Zuikaku. On 8 May, one of her aircraft located the Shokaku group; an attack was launched that left Shokaku heavily damaged. At 1100 on 8 May, however, Japanese aircraft penetrated the American anti-aircraft screen. Two torpedoes struck Lexington on the port side at 1120, followed by three bomb hits from dive bombers. Fires raged aboard the carrier, and a list of 7 degrees developed. It was originally thought that by 1300 both problems were under control, but as she prepared to recover her air group, gasoline vapor was ignited below decks, once again starting major fire. At 1558, Captain Frederick Carl Sherman ordered all hands to the flight deck, and at 1701 the order to abandon ship was given. Sherman and the executive officer Commander Morton T. Seligman were the last to leave the ship. Lexington was scuttled by two torpedoes from destroyer Phelps at 1956.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Oct 2006

Aircraft Carrier Lexington (Lexington-class) Interactive Map


Lexington on her buliding ways at Quincy, Massachusettes, late Sep or early Oct 1925Painting of USS Lexington by Walter L. Greene, 1927, depicting the ship launching aircraftUSS Lexington fitting out at the Bethlehem Steel Company shipyard at Quincy, Massachusetts, Nov 1927; note merchant ship West Grama at right edge of photoUSS Lexington firing her 55-caliber 8-inch guns, 27 Jan 1928
See all 76 photographs of Aircraft Carrier Lexington (Lexington-class)


Battle of the Coral Sea map and infographic, published 3 May 2017

Lexington (Lexington-class) Operational Timeline

1 Jul 1922 The incomplete battle-cruisers USS Lexington and USS Saratoga were authorised for commissioning as aircraft carriers, expanding greatly the US Navy’s seaborne air power beyond the still experimental USS Langley.
14 Dec 1927 Lexington (Lexington-class) was commissioned into service.
5 Dec 1941 USS Lexington departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Islands to ferry US Marine Corps SB2U Vindicator dive bombers to Midway Atoll.
14 Dec 1941 US Navy Task Force 11 with USS Lexington, three cruisers, and nine destroyers set sail for the Marshall Islands, acting as decoy in attempt to lure Japanese naval vessels out of the Wake Island area.
17 Dec 1941 USS Lexington ordered to sail north to join Task Force 14 to reinforce Wake Island.
27 Dec 1941 USS Lexington arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
22 Jan 1942 American carrier Lexington departed to raid Wake Island.
23 Jan 1942 American oiler USS Neches was torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-72 70 miles southwest of the Hawaiian Islands at 0319 hours, killing 57. Without this source of fuel, USS Lexington and her task force cancelled the Wake Island raid.
31 Jan 1942 American carrier USS Lexington was ordered to sail south to cover the return of carriers USS Enterprise and USS Yorktown from their Marshall and Gilbert Islands raid. To that end, she set sail for Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii with Task Force 11.
1 Feb 1942 USS Lexington supported the air offensive against Marshall and Gilbert Islands indirectly by operation in the vicinity of Christmas Island.
2 Feb 1942 While at sea, USS Lexington received orders to set sail for Canton Island, Phoenix Islands.
5 Feb 1942 USS Lexington crossed the Equator.
6 Feb 1942 While at sea, USS Lexington received orders to set sail for Fiji.
14 Feb 1942 18 G4M1 Type 1 land attack aircraft of the Japanese Takao Air Group arrived at Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul, New Britain.
16 Feb 1942 USS Lexington set sail with US Navy Task Force 11 for a raid on Rabaul, New Britain.
20 Feb 1942 A Japanese H6K flying boat piloted by Lieutenant (jg) Noboru Sakai spotted a US carrier force 460 miles northeast of New Britain; US pilot Jimmy Thatch of Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3) flying from USS Lexington shot down Sakai's aircraft at 1112 hours, but not before Sakai had alerted others. At 1202 hours, Burt Stanley and Leon Haynes, also of VF-3, shot down another H6K aircraft flown by Warrant Officer Kiyoshi Hayashi north of Lexington. At 1420 hours, 17 Type 1 bombers of Japanese 4th Air Group, led by Lieutenant Masayoshi Nakagawa, were launched from Rabaul, with the first wave reaching Lexington at 1625 hours. The first wave of 9 bombers were all shot down without causing any damage to Lexington (Nakagawa tried to crash into Lexington as he fell from the sky, but fell short by less than 1 mile). US Navy Lieutenant Albert Vorse of VF-3 shot down one of these bombers for his first aerial kill. The second wave attacked USS Lexington and USS Minneapolis at 1705 hours, still causing no damage; Edward "Butch" O'Hare shot down 3 and damaged 4 Japanese bombers. Only 2 Japanese bombers arrived back at Rabaul at the end of the day; 100 Japanese bomber crewmen were lost during the attacks, and Japan also lost 20 men with the H6K reconnaissance flights earlier in the morning. O'Hare was given credit for 5 kills, making him an "Ace in a Day" and leading to him being awarded the Medal of Honor. With the element of surprise lost, Lexington broke off her intended raid on Rabaul. Because of the loss of so many bombers, the Japanese delayed their plans to invade Lae, New Guinea.
6 Mar 1942 USS Lexington made rendezvous with USS Yorktown and sailed for a raid on Rabaul, New Britain.
10 Mar 1942 USS Lexington launched aircraft to attack the Japanese invasion force at New Guinea.
20 Mar 1942 USS Lexington set sail for Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii after raiding New Guinea.
26 Mar 1942 USS Lexington arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii and prepared for an overhaul in the drydock.
13 Apr 1942 USS Lexington departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii to rendezvous with USS Yorktown for a raid on Rabaul.
15 Apr 1942 USS Lexington was assigned to US Navy Task Force 11.
18 Apr 1942 USS Lexington ferried US Marine Fighter Squadron 211 and its F2A Buffalo aircraft to Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands.
20 Apr 1942 USS Lexington arrived in the South Pacific.
22 Apr 1942 USS Lexington arrived at Tongatapu, Tonga.
5 May 1942 USS Lexington made rendezvous with USS Yorktown south of Tulagi, Solomon Islands.
8 May 1942 USS Lexington was damaged by bombs at 1120 hours during the Battle of the Coral Sea, killing 191. At 1247 hours, the leaking gasoline was detonated by fire, killing a further 25. At 1707 hours, the 2,735 survivors abandoned ship, and the carrier was scuttled by 5 torpedoes from destroyer USS Phelps at 1915 hours.
4 Mar 2018 The wreck of USS Lexington was found on the seabed about 800 kilometers (about 500 miles) east of Australia.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
1 Sep 2007 11:45:31 PM

In fact six Lexington Class Battle cruisers were laid down in 1920-1921 (Lexington CC-1 Constellation CC-2 Saratoga CC-3 Ranger CC-4 Constitution CC-5 and United States CC-6). Only two survived the cuts imposed by the Washington Treaty 1921-1922 and these finally emerged as Aircraft Carriers in 1927.

2. Anonymous says:
23 Nov 2009 07:40:28 PM

Don't mean to sound like a nit-picker but the caption that lables "Saratoga4" as a battlecruiser is clearly in error. What we have is a wonderfull broadside view of Sara as finished as our first real carrier. The main give-away are the distictive 8inch gunned turrets which she kept until her first serious refit and then they were replaced with 5inch dual mounts which could elevate and track fast enough to be the standard hv.AAA gun for the USN up to this very *** .

Thank you for allowing this chance ti provide a corection.

BTW-Love this site!
3. Alan says:
7 Apr 2012 02:52:27 AM

Lt.'Butch' O'Hare's name was already well known in his home town of Chicago thanks to his infamous father 'Easy Eddie' who for many years was Al Capone's personal attorney.'Easy Eddie' later testified against Capone and within a year was shot dead, allegedly by one of Capone's mobsters.
4. ronaldcurtner@gmail.com says:
7 Jan 2015 07:01:23 PM

Searching for raymond henry boehmer believed to have served on the lexington in 1945
5. T Price says:
7 Dec 2015 08:43:39 AM

My Uncle, Wendell Carrick just recently died. He was on the Lexington and ended up with a group of sailors considered MIA in Tonga. I would love to find more information about their time in Tonga before being located.
6. Lindy Combs says:
26 May 2016 01:20:36 PM

My father, John David Combs. I would be pleased if anyone could tell me if he is listed anywhere? I believe he was nearly the last one to get off the Lexington, after rescuing many, or so the story goes that I was told. The story is that he collapsed and then managed to dive into the water, which nearly killed him.
7. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
26 May 2016 06:39:26 PM

Lexington Muster Rolls list Seaman 2nd class John D Combs of Dallas, Texas, service number 356 58 54 (enlisted 24 May 1941), reporting aboard 7 Apr 1942 from Carrier Aircraft Service Unit #1 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (1 month before the sinking). After the sinking, Lexington Muster Rolls list him formally released from the Lexington crew 8 Jul 1942 to the Receiving Station at Bremerton, Washington for duty aboard the USS Card. Card Muster Rolls list John David Combs as a member of the crew upon her commissioning (plank owner) on 12 Nov 1942 but showed him “absent upon sailing of ship” on 13 Jan 1943.
For more information about his service, request his service record from the National Archives. See: http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww2/ww2-participation.pdf
8. Anonymous says:
23 Nov 2016 05:39:46 PM

My Uncle was a survivor. His name was Willard ( Bill ) Ashpole. Anyone know him?
9. Lanny Reidhead says:
1 Jan 2017 01:11:28 PM

My uncle Cleon Ballard served on the Lexington. Can anyone tell about his service or his dutied
10. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
1 Jan 2017 03:40:15 PM

Mr. Reidhead (above):
Lexington Muster Rolls list Cleon Woodrow Ballard, service number 381 25 99, serving in the crew as a Seaman 1st-class from 1938 through the sinking in 1942. Lexington was sunk 8 May 1942 but survivors were still technically part of the crew until assigned new duties (for payroll and Muster Roll purposes) so Cleon Ballard was officially transferred off the Lexington 1 Jul 1942 to the Sub Chaser Training Center in Miami FL. After that, he was received aboard 173-foot sub chaser PC-625 as a plank owner on 25 Sep 1942 in New Orleans LA. He made his rating to Gunners Mate aboard PC-625 on 1 Jan 1943 and also shows up in the Muster Rolls of destroyer escort USS Heyliger (DE-510) on 24 Mar 1945. If you are truly interested in the details of his service, request a copy of his service record. See: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records
11. Kelly Gardner says:
20 Feb 2017 05:49:18 PM

My grandfather James Doyle from Salem Mass served on the Lexington.
12. Anonymous says:
10 Jul 2017 11:19:28 AM

My step father always claimed he was a Pearl Harbor Survivor but now I read the Lexington (on which he served) was not in Pearl Harbor at the time of attack. So can he officially declare he is a Pearl Harbor Survior?
13. Vincent L. Anderson says:
18 Nov 2017 10:37:20 AM

I served in the 94 man Marine Detachment on the USS Lexington CV2 in 1941 & 1942. I am a Coral Sea Battle Survivor. Contact me by email for photos & documents. Last Historial USS Lexington CV-2 Minutemen Club.
14. Anonymous says:
8 Feb 2018 06:30:00 AM

Wondering if anyone has any info on Wayne Rouser. Or Charles Wayne Rouser. Missing in action presumed dead Was a radio man on the aircrafts. shot down over thwCoral Sea. Thanks
15. Anonymous says:
10 Mar 2018 09:43:03 AM

I was told my grandfather served on the Lexington when it was sunk in 1942. I was told he held a high rank possibly a rank right below Captain. His name is Harold or Hal Long. I was also told he helped swim sailors to safety after the Lexington was sunk. If anyone has information about it please let me know.
Thank you.
16. Thomas N. Lynch says:
10 Mar 2018 07:16:55 PM

My grand father always told us stories of the battle. He was on Cv2 when she was sank. I can't find any information . His name is Charles Wesley Lynch from Texas. Any info would be great.
17. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
11 Mar 2018 02:19:41 PM

Thomas Lynch (above):
According to Navy Muster Rolls, Charles W Lynch enlisted 18 Jul 1941 at Houston, TX (service number 360 42 79). He was received aboard the Lexington as an Apprentice Seaman on 13 Oct 1941 from the Naval Training Station at San Diego, CA and a month later, he was elevated to Seaman 2nd class. In Mar 1942 he spent a week in gunnery school at Puuloa, Hawaii. On 18 May 1942, 10 days after Lexington was sunk, he was transferred off Lexington’s books to an unspecified personnel pool. 17 months later, as a Signalman 3rd class, he appears as a passenger aboard the USS Long Island from Noumea, New Caledonia to San Francisco, California, arriving 25 Nov 1943. On 15 Apr 1944 he was received aboard the Hancock from the Receiving Ship at Boston, MA. He appears in Hancock’s Muster Rolls through 30 Sep 1944 and his last entry in the Muster Rolls was as a passenger aboard the oiler Kaskaskia in Oct 1946.

To learn even more about his Navy service, request a copy of his service record. See http://ww2db.com/faq/#3.
18. christina davies says:
31 Mar 2018 09:52:11 AM

a family member of ours was serving on the uss lexington and we were told he wasnt a survivor. His name was Robert Vandling. How can i find a list of the crew members that were a bourd the ship at that time.
any help is appreciated
19. Lois J Davis says:
3 Aug 2018 12:09:11 PM

My Uncle served on this ship according to records I have found can you confirm. Kenneth F. Rodda from Lasalle Il.
20. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
4 Aug 2018 07:52:43 PM

Lois Davis (above):
Kenneth Fred Rodda does not appear in Lexington Muster Rolls but he is listed in Langley Muster rolls before being listed as a plank-owner in the carrier Franklin where he remained aboard through the tremendous fires of 19 Mar 1945. His Navy service number was 300 33 25.
21. Lawrence Montgomery says:
31 Aug 2018 05:33:33 PM

I have tried on many different sites to find out about my father who I am to believe served on the Lexington CV2. I did find a site that had his name on it but cannot find it now, his name Montgomery H L FC 1. Later he became a LT JG.
22. Anonymous says:
24 Feb 2019 11:05:04 AM

My father was on this ship, gunnersmate
23. Gerald Glaser says:
20 May 2019 09:34:05 AM

My elderly friend, Kenneth Miller, was aboard the USS Lexington during world war II. He served in communications. Trying to find out more information about his crew member who passed away two years ago. Will appreciate anything you are able to tell me. Does he appear on the Lexington roster?
24. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
20 May 2019 08:29:48 PM

Gerald Glaser (above):
Kenneth R. Miller does appear on the Lexington Muster Rolls. He was a radioman who came aboard before Pearl Harbor and was transferred off on July 1942.
25. MAWatson72 says:
31 Aug 2019 08:04:39 PM

I am trying to piece together my husbands Great-Uncles Military service during WWII. I wasn’t given much to go on just just a few little memories here and there... but there’s a couple things I’d like to share and see if anyone can help me out.

His great-uncle retired after a 26 years in the military. I am told he enlisted first in the Navy, but wasn’t allowed to fly for them, no one knows exactly why.
When his time was done in the Navy, WWII was just beginning so he decided to re-enlist in the United States Air Corp.

He achieved his dream to became a pilot, he flew my favorite, the B-17, the B-47 and the B-52’s.

I don’t have much more than this. I know he was in the Pacific Theater. Unfortunately my own research was in Europe.

He told his nephew, who would spend the summer with him and fly around in Uncle Tom’s
BT-13, that he had bought cheap from the government after the war, that he would fly a General to and from meetings. And that they had become friends. He was supposedly a more well known Officer.
Also he said he was either ON the USS Lexington when it went down or HELPED with the evacuations.
He also had to ditch in the ocean once time and was ok. He was picked up buy one of our boats.
He was stationed (I think when in the Navy) on an air craft carrier, as he told his nephew Robert many stories, one of which was, when you take off from a carriers, u always fly off and go Left... never right.
He said he’s never forgotten that.
He had been Playing with some hand-carved wooden jet planes, that Uncle Tom had gotten from possibly Japan.
He said was a member of the Confederate Army (I found out that was a flying museum)
And hung out at Flo’s diner at the Chino Airport in California almost daily.
He mentioned muddy runways and how he hated the front props bcuz they would cover the windshield with mud at take off and you couldn’t see a thing.
And something abt ice cream
And/or fruit cups after they came back From A mission 🤷🏼‍♀️
The Funny thing is, my papa was a Torpedo man during WWII and he mentioned the fruit cups also. Lol!
But that’s all I have and I have been searching like crazy online.
A man with a 26 year career, who was given a burial with full honors in Arlington Cemetery, who was a Lt. Col. And flew Generals back and forth must have something documented, served in 2 branches.
I guess I am asking for your help. Anything really. I don’t have a AF, Group, Squadron, Base, nothing to start from. I don’t think I have his Correct
serial number either. I thought with a little back ground it might help one of you point me in the right direction or even maybe knew him:

Born: 12/11/1918 (Thayer, IL)
Died: 12/26/2009
Buried: (02/25/2010)
Arlington Cemetery
Sec. 12, Grave: 1510
He was married at least 3 times and I found just a day ago both his son and daughter.
He was raised in Flint, Genesse,
Michigan, where he registered for WWII on 10/31/1941 and his enlistment date is 03/26/1942.
He lived for a while in Texas after the war and then moved here to southern California, where his parents and siblings had moved to.
I would appreciate knowing if he was assigned to the USS Lexington or helped to rescue it’s crew. And any other info, especially a group or base, would be much appreciated. Either for his Navy or Army Air
Force service, it doesn’t matter!
Thank you for allowing me to post and go on, as I tend to do. But I am hoping someone may remember him or who will now how these random pieces fit together to a
Certain Boeing or Strato-type group. I don’t know how one is chosen to fly the higher up
Officers. Or if they keep the same pilot or are they rotated per meeting. I have very little military knowledge. So I’ll take all I can get!
And lastly, to those who have served or who currently are, on behalf of myself and my family, much Love, Respect, Prayers and a BIG Thank You! May God Bless and Protect you each and every day.

And to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, Thank You.
May you forever Rest In Peace.
You will never be forgotten....

26. Anonymous says:
11 Sep 2019 05:57:53 PM

I am attempting to find information of when my father, Joseph Proiette served on the Lexington prior to WW 2. Thank you!
27. Robert says:
30 Sep 2019 08:25:08 AM

I was trying to confirm my fathers time aboard the Lexington. I believe he was on board during the Coral Sea battle.
28. Uss USS Lexington says:
7 Jun 2023 09:59:38 AM

I’ve been on the USs. Lexington twice

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More on Lexington (Lexington-class)
» Eaker, Ira
» Fitch, Aubrey
» Gene Lindsey
» Vorse, Albert

Event(s) Participated:
» Action off Bougainville
» Battle of Coral Sea

» US Aircraft Carrier Functions
» US Aircraft Carrier Operational Status By Month
» US Carrier Time Operational

Aircraft Carrier Lexington (Lexington-class) Photo Gallery
Lexington on her buliding ways at Quincy, Massachusettes, late Sep or early Oct 1925
See all 76 photographs of Aircraft Carrier Lexington (Lexington-class)

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