Sunday, June 10, 2012

70th Battle of Midway Commemoration

As you probably know, on Monday we had our 70th Commemoration of the Battle of Midway, which was June 4-6, 1942.  It was a great day and went really smoothly.  Everybody on the island worked really hard to pull it off.  We had 2 US Navy flights which brought about 150 visitors.  They had a very long day.  They flew in about 3:30 a.m. and left about 9 p.m. We're still having our flights only in the dark, to minimize the chances of hitting any birds.  We had 2 veterans who were actually on Midway during the Battle of Midway, and 2 vets who were here later in the war.  It was amazing to hear their recollections.  Both Battle of Midway vets were 20 year old Privates First Class at the time. 
Here's a quick writeup of one of our guests, Col John F. Miniclier-USMC (retired):

Our other Battle of Midway vet, Sgt Ed Fox-USMC (retired) was stationed in a pillbox on the south beach.  He thinks that the one that you've seen in my earlier posts, is likely the one he was stationed in.  Here's a link to his accounts of joining the marines with a link to the battle story below the text:

Here are more photos that I took of the commemoration:

If you search on Flickr for Battle of Midway 70th, you'll find a lot of photos from other press & photographers that were here.

Here's a good article written up by the Navy reporters that were here with a link to their photos:

The current Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Cecil Haney, spoke at the ceremony.  He and I were both on the same submarine, USS Honolulu (SSN-718) at different times.  I left the sub in 1992 and he didn't become the commanding officer until 1996, but it was great to meet him and talk about the shared experience, although it was separated by a few years. 

 This is Refuge Manager Sue Schulmeister with the four WWII vets.  The next photo is a closeup of the albatross chick biting one of the veterans' shoe. Sgt Fox on the left and Col Miniclier all the way to the right.

Col. Miniclier actually lived in this building for a while. He told his story to the visitors.  This was the power plant/command center that I've showed in earlier blog posts.

 This photo was taken from the building in the previous photo during the battle.  Col. Miniclier is in the tower in the center of this photo.  He says you can see his helmet in the original photo.  He left that helmet on Midway for our newly remodeled museum in the Visitor's Center.

Visitors stopping by the Ave Maria chapel saw a White tern on its egg in one of the little candle holders.

 Other things are still going on here.  NOAA has sent out a crew to remove marine debris from the atoll.  They've been going out in boats and getting nets that were stuck on the reef.  This pile is what they've collected so far.

We took a group of volunteers out snorkeling to thank them for all of the help with the commemoration preparation.


Dina J said...

Great post. I'm glad I got to see the event. That picture of the chick biting the shoe is priceless.

Dallas said...

Aloha Pete!

I was the photographer who came along on the boat to Eastern Island last-minute that day. Here's a blog post of my photo from that day:

Also, I'm pretty sure this is a photo of you on the pier!:!i=1891401621&k=7GJJKcj

If you'd like me to email you copies of any photos, send me an email through here and let me know:

Kerry O'Gorman said...

I just learned of the plastic eating albatross on Midway and then discovered your blog. It's remarkable what NOAA is doing by removing plastic from the area. I commend them and only wished I lived somewhat nearby to help! I recently watched the documentary "The Clean Bin Project" where artist Chris Jordan speaks of the sad tail of the albatross. I am so glad to have found out about whats going on and will follow along with you on your journey. Cheers.