Naval Base Guam Commemorates Battle of Midway

by Theresa Merto Cepeda
U.S. Navy

SANTA RITA, Guam – Dozens of Sailors and soldiers observed the 72nd anniversary of the Battle of Midway at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center in Santa Rita June 3.

U.S. Naval Base Guam held the ceremony to commemorate the Battle of Midway, which occurred June 4-7, 1942. Historians called the battle a decisive turning point in World War II where the Allies gained a strategic and tactical advantage over the Empire of Japan in the Pacific. On the tail end of the attack on Pearl Harbor six months prior, Allied naval assets secured an offensive position after permanently crippling the Japanese navy at Midway.

“The concept of the aircraft carrier and its strategic imperative to the nation was born at the Battle of Midway,” said Capt. Mike Ward, NBG commanding officer. “This battle seized the strategic initiative despite our dramatic defeat on Dec. 7, 1941.”

Ward said the aftermath of Pearl Harbor left the U.S. fleet in complete disarray and the Battle of Midway was a singular statement on the importance of naval power.

“A vastly outgunned and outnumbered U.S. fleet defeated the finest of the Imperial Japanese Navy,” said Chief Master-at-Arms (EXW/SW) Daniel Damico from Naval Security Forces. “Their daring combination of intelligence, tactics, courage and sacrifice forever changed the course of the war.”

Ward said the Battle of Midway is about more than just carrier aviation but about the Navy’s legacy and history. Although the Allied victory was epic and momentous, it came at severe cost, he added.

“Adm. Nimitz called this battle a glorious page in our history and the stories of heroism and courage at Midway are remarkable in every sense,” Ward said. “To the stories of those Sailors who stayed at their post until the bitter end to the stories of those who rescued shipmates from the carrier Yorktown that sank during the battle.”

Yeoman 3rd Class Akeem Williams said participating in this ceremony hopefully served an important purpose in the lives of service members.
“Sailors need to understand our naval history to understand and feel the pride of being a Sailor,” Williams said. “A lot of that pride started here in Guam. The people of Guam and the military accomplished so much because of that common pride.”

Ward said the ceremony not only venerates those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice but also to help the current generation understand the significance and lessons Battle of Midway holds for the Navy of today.

For more information, contact the Naval Base Guam Public Affairs Office at (671) 339-2663.

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