NSA Panama City commemorates 82nd anniversary of Battle of Midway

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — 82 years ago, the United States was engaged in a vicious war with Japan for control of the Pacific.

The tide of that war turned on June 5, 1942, near a small island named Midway.

The battle of Midway began on June 4, 1942, on an atoll named “Midway”.

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It was just seven months after the Japanese attacked the U.S. bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, drawing the United States into World War II.

Japan committed the majority of its naval fleet to an attack on midway, hoping to deal the U.S. forces a devastating blow.

But naval intelligence uncovered the attack plans, and US forces were waiting.

“Fighters in the Pacific engaged in battle after having prepared the battle space using the most timely intelligence calculated the odds, given the enemy’s order of battle, and then confidently moved into the fold after having chosen the terms of engagement,” Naval Support Activity Panama City Lieutenant Commander Executive Officer Brandon Baxter said.

By June 7, what was left of the Japanese imperial fleet retreated.

“It was the turning point of the war in the Pacific. The Japanese and American fleets were both en route to that key position in the Pacific. The Americans lie in wait because it was supposed to be a secret for the Japanese to attack. But the Americans got there based on some naval intelligence,” Naval Support Activity Panama City First Class Culinary Specialist Larry Brown said.

The Japanese lost all four of their aircraft carriers, 248 airplanes, and 3,000 people.

By comparison, the U.S. lost one carrier, 150 aircraft, and 307 people.

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Tuesday’s ceremony at the NSA marina honored the lives of those lost in the battle.

“We lay the wreath to honor those men and women who have lost their lives at sea. We need to carry on the legacy that has been established before us and to keep in line with the Navy’s core values of honor, courage, and commitment,” Brown said.

“We have a big military community here, and people need to understand that we have a history and if they don’t learn from it, we’re going to repeat it. God bless America and thank you for the US Navy and Marines and all the other branches,” the United States Marine Corps. Veteran Ron Schreffler said.

Most military historians believe that, if Japan had captured midway, they would have used it as a base to launch attacks against the west coast of the United States.   

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