Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

1942: February 27:   Loss of USS Langley (AV-3)

On February 27, 1942, the aircraft tender, USS Langley (AV-3), was carrying 32 U.S. Army Air Force Curtiss P-40 "Warhawk" aircraft for the defense of Java when she was bombed by Japanese naval land attack planes about 75 miles south of Tjilatjap.  Along with Langley was the freighter Sea Witch, carrying an additional 27 Curtiss P-40 "Warhawk" aircraft, and the destroyer escorts USS Whipple (DD-217) and USS Edsall (DD-219).   Due to the damage received by the Japanese aircraft, Langley was scuttled by Whipple.   Note, Langley was the first U.S. Navy aircraft carrier with the designation of (CV-1).   Before the completion of her conversion to an aircraft carrier in 1922, she held the name USS Jupiter (Collier #3) and was commissioned in 1913. 

Image:  NH 92472:  USS Langley (AV-3) being abandonded afer bombing by Japanese aircraft, south of Java, February 27, 1942.  USS Edsall (DD-219) is off Langley's port side.   Photographed from USS Whipple (DD-217).  NHHC Photograph Collection.