By Bob Fehringer (contractor), U.S. Transportation Command Public Affairs
United States Transportation Command hosted a Battle of Midway observance June 6 to commemorate the World War II confrontation which changed the war’s direction in favor of the United States and the Allies.
A musical prelude by the Navy Band, Naval Service Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., opened the event and was followed by video remarks from Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chief of naval operations. Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, USTRANSCOM commander, and Rear Adm. Mark D. Harnitchek, USTRANSCOM director of strategy, policy, programs, and logistics, also spoke.
Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau, USTRANSCOM deputy commander and the top Naval officer in the command, was the keynote speaker.
Battle of Midway veterans--retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Lester “Les” Murray, retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer Frank “Billy” Boo and retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Floyd “Monty” Campbell--received letters of appreciation and mementos of the occasion from Rondeau who personally thanked them for their efforts during the epic battle.
“Their ‘Greatest Generation’ made a stand at Midway,” Rondeau said. “This generation stands tall in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s what links us ordinary people, generation to generation, warrior to warrior.”
The Battle of Midway, fought in the Pacific Theater June 4-7, 1942, was a key battle of World War II. During the battle, the U.S. Navy defeated the Japanese and destroyed four aircraft carriers, a heavy cruiser, 291 aircraft and an estimated 4,800 personnel. The United States lost a carrier, a destroyer, 145 aircraft and 307 personnel.
Although the Battle of Midway did not destroy Japanese naval aviation, it did tremendous damage and has been called “the turning point of the Pacific.”
In closing, Rondeau said, “Thank you for what you gave to us. Thank you for showing us the way, not only as great warriors but as great citizens and men of honor.”