A group of local Historic City News readers, recalling their service in the Pacific Theatre of Operations during World War II, and that of their families, attended a ceremony Wednesday afternoon at Naval Station Mayport commemorating the Battle of Midway that occurred June 4th through June 7th of 1942.
Rear Admiral Sinclair M. Harris, commander of US 4th Fleet, was on hand for the occasion to speak about the importance of the historic battle over and near the tiny US mid-Pacific base at Midway; considered a turning point during the War.
Addressing the audience from aboard the Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyer, USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), Rear Adm. Harris explained that, prior to this action, Japan possessed general naval superiority over the United States — they could usually choose where and when to attack.
On June 4, 1942, in the second of the Pacific War’s great carrier battles, the trap was sprung. The perseverance, sacrifice and skill of US Navy aviators, plus a great deal of good luck on the American side, cost Japan four irreplaceable fleet carriers, while only one of the three US carriers present was lost. After Midway, the two opposing fleets were essentially equals.
The base at Midway, though damaged by Japanese air attack, remained operational and later became a vital component in the American trans-Pacific offensive.