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    Midway Atoll  USA

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1943

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Earl Hinz c1980s

Location
Midway Atoll is a 2.4 square mile atoll in the central Pacific, one-third of the distance frorm Hawaii and Japan, within 161 miles east of the International Dateline. Comprises of two major island: Sand Island and Eastern Island.

Wartime History
On December 7, 1941 Japanese destroyers bombarded Midway.

Midway Mavis Reconnancence Mission
The Japanese had planned a second K-Operation raid prior to the Midway campaign. Lieutenant Hashizume flying an H6K Mavis was shot down by U.S. Marine fighters while trying to photograph the facilities on Midway.

Battle of Midway
Midway Islands was the turning point of the war in the Pacific, when US land and aircraft carrier based units sank four Japanese aircraft carriers in a two-day sea battle that broke the back of the Imperial Japanese fleet. Visitors to Midway Islands are exploring its waters and beaches for the first time in half a century, and finding a treasure trove of remarkably well preserved wartime items. A great number of US and Japanese fighters and bombers crashed in and around Midway during the war.

The most important naval battles in history and a turning point in the Pacific war. The TBF Grumman Avenger flown by pilots of a shore-based element of Torpedo Squadron 8, began its combat career with attacks on the Japanese Fleet during the Battle of Midway. The battle would result in the Japanese Navy's first naval defeat in over 300 years and the loss of four carriers. During the battle, 4 B-26s, in conjunction with US Navy torpedo bombers, attack a carrier; 2 of the B-26s are shot down. In further morning action 14 B-17s attack a task force approaching Midway at a distance of 145 miles; they claim several hits on carriers and 2 Zekes shot down. In the late afternoon 2 B-17s attack a carrier force, claiming hits on a battleship and a carrier and 9 aircraft shot down; 4 other B-17s claim a hit on heavy cruiser 185 miles from Midway. 6 B-17s, en route to Midway from Hawaii, bomb ships 170 miles from Midway, claiming hits on a burning carrier, the Hiryu, hit earlier in the battle, and a destroyer, which is claimed sunk. The Battle of Midway ends. Japanese losses include 3,500 men, four carriers, a cruiser, 332 aircraft, and many of their bravest, most experienced pilots. American losses include 307 men plus 105 aircraft lost. Sunk was USS Yorktown CV-5 and USS Hammann DD-412.

Today
Original runways, buildings, bunkers and other wartime remnants still stand. Bomb craters and long strings of strafing bullet marks from Japanese Zero fighter aircraft still stitch across runway aprons and building faces, evidence that Japan brought the battle onto Midway's shores. The atoll is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Reguge
The USFWS has contracted with a private company, Midway Phoenix Corporation, to provide access and management for public visits to the islands. The contractor provides airplane service from Lihue, Kauai, and guests are put up in refurbished barracks and fed at a dining hall left from Navy operating days. Part of the tour fees paid by visitors is used to preserve, manage and expand the wildlife habitat.

Eastern Island
Located in Midway Atoll, includes Midway Airfield (Eastern Island Airfield)

Sand Island
Located in Midway Atoll

F4U-1 Corsair
Pilot Smith ditched June 22, 1943

LB-30 Liberator Serial Number AL589
Major General Clarance Tinker KIA June 7, 1942

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017

 

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