Naval Base Guam holds somber wreath-laying ceremony

by Jeff Landis, Major, USMC (Ret.)
Naval Base Guam Public Affairs

APRA HARBOR, Guam (June 7, 2017) – To honor the service and sacrifice of 307 men who perished and to commemorate the Battle of Midway 75 years later as a pivotal battle in the Pacific in World War II, U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) concluded its week-long series of commemorative events with a wreath-laying ceremony, June 7, at Apra Harbor.

NBG created a robust schedule of events June 2-7, with “scene setters” and a short historical film on social media to set the tone and inspire the Navy community, as well as all servicemembers on Guam, to appreciate the magnitude of the battle and its continuing legacy. NBG also held an outdoor movie night, June 4, with the 1976 film, “Midway,” and held a morning colors ceremony, June 5, where signal flags were flown in front of the NBG Headquarters to symbolize the heroic efforts of the men assigned to Task Force 16 and 17 under the overall command of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. Signal flags spelling out Midway were also flown June 7.

A total of 31 social media posts over the week also highlighted heroes of the battle and specific timeline posts which captured a snapshot in time – 75 years ago – on the exact day and time of the event in the Battle of Midway, where the U.S. Navy’s defensive posture became an insurmountable offensive posture and modern naval warfare was forever changed.

Capt. Hans Sholley, NBG Commanding Officer, presided over the wreath laying ceremony with a message that captured attention and enumerated the remarkable stories of courage and heroism.

“We are gathered here today under the beautiful skies of our island home and in front of shores of the historic Apra Harbor – and together, we hear in the distance the echoes of history,” Sholley said, as a distant bell rang out, each ring symbolizing a life lost. “Today we gather to reflect on the Battle of Midway… a history that has become legend to the United States Navy. All legends begin with a story retold of heroes against all odds, defying near certain outcomes, which prevails and changes history.

“Today we have rung the bell on the distant shore of Midway for our 307 shipmates who did not return,” Sholley continued. “Today we retell this legend in their honor, and each time this story is retold we salute their memory and their bravery with our remembrance.”

By remembering Midway and those who served in the battle, NBG further demonstrated how legacies are made – providing a strong example of integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness – to future generations of Sailors who will define the United States Navy and its future successes.

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