I agree with you that they should have tried to locate the CHICAGO. It is the only USN cruiser loss of WWII that has not been located.
In regards to her floatplanes, years ago I went thru the records to figure out which ones were lost with her. I came up with only 2 SOCs as she had offloaded all 4 of her SO3Cs to Alameda by 21 Dec'42. At this time, it was unclear how many aircraft they wanted assigned to each cruiser due to the fire hazard. The standard had been 4 per ship but this varied with some having none at all aboard while some had up to 5 and still others have a reduced amount.
The SO3C BuNo.s that Bill Larkins listed show that 4799 & 4862 were stricken by Base San Francisco on 30 Aug'44. 4846 was stricken on 31 Mar'45 by Roosevelt Roads and 4848 was stricken by Memphis NAOT on 18 Sep'43. All this information comes from the BuAer History Cards for these machines. This should help clear this up as the records show that none were lost with her as no additional SO3Cs were assigned.
...although I disagree with the conclusion. Btw, that's the Battle of Savo, if I may quibble.
I once suggested that the wrecks of Chicago and Kinugasa be included in search and survey-- Chicago is in similar water as Juneau --with Juneau getting the nod. It is just possible a survey would have answered the question.
In any event, the Navy was not happy with the SO3C; the one pilot I interviewed who flew both types laughed at the SO3C as a dog. It would not surprise me to learn that Chicago ditched the SO3C for a like number of the well-thought-of SOC before moving 'up to the line'.
As the Navy cautioned, records are incomplete, contradictory or nonexistent. Chicago 's records with down with her, so that's a disadvantage. There is someone who might know, however.
One final item: is that actual video of Chicago sinking near the end of Victory at Sea, Guadalcanal ?
Having done some research and it seems that the Larkins book Battleship and cruiser aircraft of the USN 1910 -1949 is key souce on this subject.
This book in chapter 5 lists aircraft assignments to Battleships and cruisers .In the beginning of it. It quotes 2 statements by the navy . The first once covers Monthly status of Naval aircraft reports for 1929 to 1940."As Bureau records depend upon recipt of reports from the various aviation
activities ,some of which are several weeks in transit,and as aircraft,which have been wrecked,lost or worn out of service,are included
until officially stricken from the Navy list ,it is impossible to show the actual status of aircraft on aircraft on any given date. Also"Since the Bureau records are changing constantly and other reports not prepared at the same time, proabley will not agree with this report"
Moving forward to 1943.
"The quantities of aircraft shown in this section are taken from the latest of reports available
to the Bureau of Aeronautics at the end of the month. Quantities by orgainzation or squadron will not correspond,in all cases ,with the assignment shown in the distribution sheets in the first part
of this publication .These latter figures are the
record of official serial number custody and do not reflect the current movement of planes in the pools."So then I researched the Chicago CA-29 record.
The Chicago was assigned to the Pacific fleet and in Feb,1942 was assigned to the South Pacific and worked with Austrailian Navy.She was at Guadalcanal and fought in the Battle of Salvo Island. Damaged she went Noumea New Calenodia,then
Sydney Austrailia and finally Mare Island Navy Yard in San Francisco for repairs . Arriving on October 13,1942. Staying until early January 1943.
Then she sailed for the South Pacific again and was sunk because of 2 air raids .
OK This book has 2 lists which shows assigned planes and for the first delievery Seamews and to what ships they went. The Chicago got 3 Seamews on 10/19/42 to replace her Seagulls while she was in San Francisco. The assignment is 2 months by 12/19/42 they could have transfered out but 12/12/42 the Chicago recieved a 4th Seamew.
So what I'm saying based on the quoted above
and the photos shown that the Chicago had a SOC Seagull and out of sight of the photographer
a SO3C Seamew. HTH