Friday, May 4, 2012

Battle of the Coral Sea, 1942

The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought on May 4-8, 1942, with most of the fighting happening on the 7th and 8th. It was the first fleet action of the war in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which ships on neither side sighted or fired directly upon the other. The battle, part of the Pacific Theater of World War II, is considered a tactical victory for Japan since the American carrier Lexington was lost while Japan only lost the light carrier Shōhō in the battle. However, the Coral Sea was a strategic victory for the Allies, as the Japanese abandoned their attempt to land troops to invade New Guinea via Port Moresby. While the engagement ended with no clear victor, the damage suffered and experience gained by both sides set the stage for the Battle of Midway next month.

The Battle of the Coral Sea, May 4-8, 1942
Source: The Reports of General MacArthur... in the Pacific

During this early period in the war, my dad, a weldor on the repair ship, USS Vestal, is at Pearl Harbor, where he has been serving since before the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. But his ship is about to follow the fleet as it sails in July to various bases of operation: Tongatabu, New Caledonia, and Espiritu Santo.

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