The Lexington, or “Lady Lex”, was one of America's first two carriers. Laid down originally in 1921 as a battlecruiser, she was converted to be an aircraft carrier while still in the shipyard. She was launched in 1925 and along with her sister ship, the U.S.S. Saratoga, Lady Lex was instrumental in the U.S. Navy’s development of carrier tactics before the Second World War. The Lexington and her air wings played a significant role in the first year of the war. She conducted several raids against the Japanese Navy and bases in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. In May 1942 the Lexington met her demise at the Battle of the Coral Sea. Along with the U.S.S Yorktown, Lady Lex fought the Japanese Navy in the first naval battle in history where the combatant fleets did not come within visual range of each other. The battle lasted over four days. The Americans sank a Zuihō-class carrier - the Shōhō, and badly damaged the carrier Shōkaku but not before the Japanese planes hit the Lex. Admiral Fitch ordered Captain Sherman to abandon ship at 1707 hrs on May 8, 1942. The destroyer U.S.S. Phelps (DD-360) scuttled the Lexington with four torpedoes. The Lex slipped below the waves at 1952 hrs. The battle proved to be a strategic victory for the Allies as it stopped the Japanese invasion plans of Port Moresby.
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