I have been made aware of a project being proposed to recover certain historic aircraft from the wreckage of the USS Lexington lost in the Battle of Coral Sea in May of 1942. I have been invited to comment on this project.
It is understood that once recovered these aircraft would become part of the Navy History and Heritage Command historic aircraft collection under the control of National Naval Aviation Museum for preservation and restoration and/or distribution to qualified entities for such work. The recovery and delivery to the Navy would be at no direct cost to Naval Aviation.
The aircraft being considered for recovery are of unique historic significance that can be equaled nowhere in the Navy’s historic aircraft preservation program nor for that matter anywhere else. Acquiring these artifacts would be a major accomplishment in the interpretation and preservation of naval aviation history.
I cannot address all aspects of the project, however I can vouch for one of the project’s participants – A&T Recovery. This company recovered without incident or damage over three dozen WWII aircraft from under water for the National Naval Aviation Museum where other competitors failed .
Robert L Rasmussen, Captain USN (ret)
Former Director, National Naval Aviation Museum
My Uncle Buddy:
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2023 at 05:19:29 AM EST
Subject: Lexington plane recovery
It seems like the dream you had when you contacted me some time
back is coming to fruition.I can only say thank you with all my heart.
At that time I had just come into possession of records and letters
of my dad from a relative doing research for a family tree. Among
that information was my dads service number. With the assistance
you gave me I was able to obtain his service record.
Among the things I found were that my dad was short! My mother is
5'10" AND I AM 6'. Also my dad had applied, and been accepted for
flight school. This never eventuated and I wonder what my life might
have been if he had been gone and not died at the end of the war.
When the RV Petrel was doing it's thing I avidly followed the videos
they were posting. With this I came across a couple of amateur
historians who wee comparing notes about the planes found. One
of those comments was about TBD 1 and it's crew. It seems my
dad had flown in the plane! Can you imagine the excitement I felt?
Then you come along and I had to bide my time as you progressed
through your dream. Now it seems to be happening and I can't wait.
Thank so much for all the effort you have put into this project,
Son of Duncan Floyd Hallock
US Navy Aviation Ordnanceman
Duncan Floyd Hallock
On Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 11:07:55 AM EST, Glenn Storms wrote:
I was perusing my most recent issue of Sea Classics when I came to the photo of the two Devastators lying on the bottom of the ocean.
I would be hard pressed to think of a more worthwhile historical aircraft recovery effort than the one you propose. These planes were virtually obsolete on the day they entered service with the Navy, but were the only torpedo planes we had available in any quantity for the first six months of WWII.
They were slaughtered wherever they went and were finally obliterated at Midway, where the squadrons of all three carriers were wiped out. Wiped out, but in the most courageous attacks imaginable, carried out by their brave, young crews.
There are no genuine TBD's on display anywhere, to the best of my knowledge. That should be a good enough reason right there to make the effort to bring them up, especially considering the remarkable condition they appear to be in, not to mention their historical significance.
But if that isn't enough, they should be raised and restored as a lasting tribute to the men who gave their lives flying them in defense of our nation, at a point in time where the battle in the Pacific could still have gone either way.
Good luck in your efforts to convince the Navy.
From: Chad Hill email@example.com
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2023 at 12:46:06 PM EDT
I’ve been a fan of your recoveries for many years, and I read the March 2023 issue of Air Classics with great interest regarding the proposed recovery of the USS Lexington Devastators and the Wildcat from the sea floor. I agree 100% that these aircraft are indispensable in telling the stories of the Greatest Generation and what they went through to save the world from tyranny. With the only Devastators in existence all resting on the sea bed across the world, the chance to recover examples with this kind of combat history is almost unfathomable. And with the Wildcat having been flown by so many notable pilots, particularly Butch O’Hare, it’s value to history is even more important.
Please pass along my support for recovering these immensely historic aircraft to the powers that be in the USN and the politicians involved. If it is possible to recover them, then they absolutely must be.