By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Oscar Albert Moreno Jr.
PACIFIC OCEAN (June 4, 2014) – Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) conducted a Battle of Midway Heritage remembrance observance on the ship’s mess decks, June 4.
The commemorative event remembered the achievements and honored the legacy of those who fought in the second of the Pacific War’s great carrier battles.
“Today, on June 4, 1942, marks an important turning point in World War II,” said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet, and guest speaker for the event. “Thanks to the tactical genius and leadership ability of Adm. Chester Nimitz, the U.S. Navy was able to repel the Japanese navy and allowed us to take to the offensive in the Pacific.”
Japanese Combined Fleet commander Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto moved on Midway in an effort to draw out and destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s aircraft carrier strike forces, which had embarrassed the Japanese navy in the mid-April Doolittle Raid on Japan’s home islands and at the Battle of Coral Sea in early May. He planned to quickly knock down Midway’s defenses, follow up with an invasion of the atoll’s two small islands and establish a Japanese air base there.
Yamamoto’s intended surprise was thwarted by superior American communications intelligence, which deduced his scheme well before battle was joined. This allowed Nimitz to establish an ambush by having his carriers ready and waiting for the Japanese.
“It means a lot knowing that everything that I had learned in training to become a cryptologic technician has had a great impact in the Navy,” said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 3rd Class Maria Gallegos, from Stevens Point, Wis. “There’s a sense of pride I gain from being in a rate with such a great importance in naval history.”
The Battle of Midway not only proved the importance of military intelligence, but also placed a spotlight on the United States’ maintenance capabilities.
“After the Battle of the Coral Sea, USS Yorktown (CV-10) was thought to be lost,” said Montgomery. “However, with two gaping holes on its flight deck, Yorktown pulled into the nearest dry dock on a Monday and pulled out on Thursday of that same week with two months worth of repairs in order to assist the war effort at Midway.”
To conclude the event, Capt. Carlos Sardiello, executive officer of George Washington, and Sailors joined Montgomery in cutting of a cake resembling Yorktown.