Another historic WWII aircraft carrier has been located thanks to efforts by the crew of Paul Allen’s R/V Petrel.

The USS Wasp (CV-7) was located 4,200 meters below the surface of the Coral Sea. She was sunk on September 15, 1942 by four Japanese torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I-19 while escorting transports of reinforcements to Guadalcanal. Even after the torpedoes set the carrier ablaze, the men aboard showed a reluctance to leave until all remaining crewmates were safe, and only when assured the Wasp had been successfully abandoned did Capt. Forrest P. Sherman leave the burning ship. One hundred and seventy six men perished in the attack of the 2,248 aboard.

The Wasp played a pivotal role on multiple fronts during WWII; providing defensive fighter cover for American army planes landing in Iceland, aiding missions to Malta; a location being hit daily by German and Italian planes, and finally, serving as an escort for the 7th Marine Regiment heading to Guadalcanal as reinforcements. You can read the full story of the discovery of the Wasp in New York Times Magazine, including the “Letter to Jackie” — a letter discovered from one of the lost sailors to his son. Below is a gallery of some of the images of USS Wasp in her final resting place.


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Conservation & Exploration exploration history Petrel underwater exploration World War II WWII


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