Soddy-Daisy man among team of researchers in Pacific that recovered wreckage of USS Hornet

Paul Mayer of Soddy-Daisy was among the team of researchers who located the wreckage of the U.S.S. Hornet near the Solomon Islands in January. (Photos: U.S. Navy/WTVC)

Crews in the Pacific have solved another World War II mystery, and have located a sunken aircraft carrier that played a pivotal role in the war.

And one of the members of that crew calls Soddy-Daisy home.

In January, the crew of the research vessel R/V Petrel located the wreckage of the U.S.S. Hornet in waters nearly 17,500 feet deep, near the Solomon Islands.

The Hornet took part in the decisive Battle of Midway of 1942, the first major victory for U.S. forces after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Later that same year, during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, the Hornet was damaged so badly that the U.S. Navy deliberately torpedoed and sunk it.

The depth kept the wreckage hidden for decades. It also helped preserve the ship. Video of the wreckage shows little deterioration or buildup from ocean life.

Paul Mayer of Soddy-Daisy is a member on the crew of Paul G. Allen's Research Vessel Petrel. He and the rest of the crew have already had other successes locating sunken vessels. In August of 2017, the crew located the wreckage of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, whose sinking is considered the worst U.S. Naval disaster in history. Five sailors of the roughly 900 men who died in that disaster were from Marion County. And one of the survivors of that disaster was Kayo Erwin of Chattanooga. Erwin passed away in 2018, but not before talking with NewsChannel 9 about his experience.

Mayer told us in a recent interview that while he grew up in California, he followed his in-laws to Soddy-Daisy. He told us he has a full schedule of projects for 2019, with the recovery of the U.S.S. Hornet being his first successful one.

Read more about the recovery of the U.S.S. Hornet and see video of the wreckage here and here.

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