coral carriers

“The USS Lexington explodes after being bombed by Japanese planes in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May of 1942. More than 200 of the carrier’s 2,951-man crew went down with the ship. While Japanese forces won a tactical battle, a number of their damaged ships were unable to participate in the upcoming pivotal Battle of Midway, which took place one month later.”

(AP)

F-4B Phantom II (BuNo 149430) of fighter squadron VF-111 Sundowners about to be launched from the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) during a deployment to Vietnam

May 4 is the anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.  A tactical victory for the Japanese (ships sunk), but a strategic one for Allied forces (invasion turned back).  The Lexington was lost, and the Yorktown was damaged.  The Japanese thought the Yorktown was a write-off, but just a month later, it was back in action during the Battle of Midway. 

On the 73rd anniversary of this important, but often ignored battle, all I have to say is

“Scratch one flattop.”

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VF-194 F-4Js in experimental camouflage intercepting Tu-95
Two McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantoms of fighter squadron VF-194 Red Lightnings intercept a soviet Tu-95 Bear reconnaissance plane on 10 March 1977. VF-194 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing Fifeteen (CVW-15) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CV-43). Note the experimental camouflage scheme of the Phantoms. The crew of the F-4S nearer to the camera was William Dvorak/J.T. Walior, the other was Don Duffington/Wayne Cheatum.