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Battle of Midway Remembered


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#1 Deep Web Diver

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 08:23 AM

Marine Corps News

Battle of Midway Remembered
Submitted by: MCAS Miramar
Story Identification #: 2004610162633
Story by Cpl. Paul Leicht

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif.(June 10, 2004) -- Sixty-two years ago, Sailors and Marines of the U.S. Pacific Fleet surprised and defeated Japan's combined fleet near the Pacific atoll of Midway.

As this month also marks the 60th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, the memory of Midway may seem overshadowed by America's victories in Europe, but the military and historical significance of the Battle of Midway cannot be overstated.

The Battle of Midway is considered by many to be the pivotal battle in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Some, including historian James Schlesinger, see Midway as the primary reason the United States was able to focus on defeating Nazi Germany in Europe as part of the Allies' grand strategy.

In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese captured several key strategic islands in the Pacific before pursuing territories further east toward the coast of the United States in late May and June of 1942.

As the world watched the fall of the Philippines, the Malay Peninsula, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies in the Pacific, the Japanese were proving to be unstoppable in the face of a weakened American military.

It was at Midway where the U.S. Pacific Fleet - with inferior aircraft, ineffective torpedoes and a lack of supporting American surface ships - took on a numerically superior Japanese force and emerged victorious in the face of overwhelming odds.

The centerpiece of Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto's force sent to Midway were four carriers that launched the air attack on Pearl Harbor: Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu.

Previously, U.S. Pacific Fleet carriers were not in port during the attack at Pearl Harbor and had escaped destruction, keeping America's Naval aviation assests ready to strike back at the Japanese.

Midway proved to be America's opportunity for some payback.

Thanks to the efforts of American cryptologists, Japanese codes were deciphered, and it was learned that "AF", code for Midway, would soon be the next target of Japan's imperial aggression.

In response, the island garrison built up its defenses, and U.S. carriers were scrambled to defend the small island of Midway and its garrison of Sailors and Marines. From June 4 to 7, 1942, American sea and air power engaged and sank all four of the Japanese carriers along with several other surface ships.

In comparison, American losses were not as great, although the carrier USS Yorktown was lost after numerous torpedo hits.

At Midway Japan ultimately lost more than 100 veteran pilots and aircrew that could not be replaced. The loss of this force also delivered a serious blow to Japanese morale and their ability to wage war in the Pacific. Aiding in Midway's defense were U.S. Marines, including Marine aviators of Marine Aircraft Group 22 who paid a high price for victory with more than 100 casualties.

During the battle, MAG-22 destroyed more than 40 Japanese dive-bombers and fighter aircraft, with the 6th Defense Battalion on the ground shooting down more than 10 Japanese planes as well.

Just as during the defense of Wake Island, Marine air and ground forces worked together at Midway to help defend against Japanese attack. After the battle, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander-in-chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, commended the Marines for their gallant efforts and thanked them for their sacrifices at Midway.

Nimitz further noted that the Marines were ready to take on vastly superior numbers and were an important, contributing force in the spearhead of victory.

With the Japanese threat in the Pacific largely blunted, much hard work was still left to do.

There would be other Pacific islands, like Tarawa and Iwo Jima, to defend and reclaim from Japan, further demonstrating the skill and courage of resolve of American and allied forces.

[ 16. June 2004, 03:11 AM: Message edited by: Deep Web Diver ]
This information has been posted for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes.
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"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." - Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 19, 1863
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"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." - William Faulkner

#2 Deep Web Diver

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 10:43 PM

Naval Historical Center: Battle of Midway: 4-7 June 1942
This information has been posted for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes.
- - - -
"The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." - Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 19, 1863
- - - -
"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." - William Faulkner




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