Ault, William Bowen, CDR Fallen
 Service Photo   Service Details
143 kb
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Last Rank
Last Primary Designator/NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot heavier than air or lighter than air
Last Rating/NEC Group
Last Duty Station
1941-1942, 131X, USS Lexington (CV-2)
Service Years
1922 - 1942
Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Order of the Golden Dragon
Panama Canal
Commander Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

34 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
May 08, 1942
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Solomon Islands
Wars and Conflicts/World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Battle of Coral Sea
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback Order of the Golden Dragon

 Photo Album   (More...

Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Battle of Coral Sea
Start Year
End Year

Recover of Solomon Islands
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
To Year
Last Updated:
Mar 9, 2008
Personal Memories

In the later Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, as Lexington's Air Group Commander, Ault led Lexington's bombers into combat in the successful May 7 attack on the Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho, sinking the light carrier fifteen minutes after the first attack.[1][2] The Shoho was the first Japanese aircraft carrier sunk in World War II.[3][4]

Early in the morning on 8 May, Ault led the Lexington airwing's attack on the Japanese fleet carrier Shokaku. The attack was successful; the Shokaku was damaged severely enough to warrant its removal from battle and its return to base at Chuuk.[5]

Both Ault and his radio-gunner, Aviation Radioman 1st Class William T. Butler, apparently suffered wounds when Zero fighters attacked the group commander's SBD Dauntless.[6] Ault attempted to return to a friendly carrier deck, not realizing that the Lexington had taken mortal damage in his absence. Unaware of Lexington's distress, he radioed the ship at 14:49, to tell her that he had only enough gasoline for 20 minutes. Yorktown, which had taken over communications for "Lady Lex," heard Ault's broadcast but failed to pick him up on her radar. Informed that he was on his own but wished "Good luck." Ault changed course to the north, in a last vain attempt to be picked up on radar. Yorktown again wished him good luck.

Ault, perhaps aware of the fate that lay ahead, radioed : "O.K. So long, people. We put a 1,000 pound hit on the flat top."[7] No further word was received from Lexington's air group commander, and neither he nor Aviation Radioman Butler was ever seen again. No remains of his aircraft have yet been found.[8]

Both Ault and Butler were listed as Missing in Action and presumed dead on May 8, 1942.

My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  104 Also There at This Battle:
  • Baranger, Walter, LCDR, 1949
  • Bergeron, Dallas, PO1, 1944
  • Duckworth, Herbert Spencer, VADM, 1990
  • Gayler, Noel, ADM, 1976
  • Koelndorfer, Joseph, SN, 1953
  • Nabors, Paul, S1c, 1942
  • Panks, Gerald, PO3, 1946
  • Pookphant, Torlarp, PO2, 2008
  • Tucker, Henry, PO3, 1942
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