Voyage of the Great White Fleet (December 16, 1907). In pre-World War I days, the Navy carried out its role as a diplomatic arm of the government. On December 16, 1907, the Great White Fleet left Hampton Roads, Virginia, for a round-the-world cruise to show the flag and demonstrate the strength of the U.S. Navy to the world
Battle of Coral Sea (May 7-8, 1942). Thanks to the breaking of the Japanese Navy code, the U.S. was alerted to a large Japanese force moving into the Coral Sea to seize Port Moresby on the southwest coast of New Guinea. It was to be the first step of a planned invasion of Australia. The Japanese operation centered around three aircraft carriers and dozens of troop transports, but the Americans met them with two carriers of their own. On May 7, the Japanese planes sank two minor Allied ships, while U.S. planes sank an isolated enemy carrier. The next day, both sides launched all their planes against the other. The aircraft passed each other unseen in the clouds, in the world's first carrier verses carrier battle. One Japanese carrier was damaged. The U.S. carrier Lexington was sunk, and the carrier Yorktown was damaged. After this action, both sides withdrew. Although a tactical victory, the Battle of Coral Sea was a strategic setback for the Japanese who never again threatened Australia.
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