HONOLULU, Hawaii -- During the ceremony, Battle of Midway veterans Navy Watertender 1st Class Julian Hodges and U.S. Marine Corps Private 1st Class Edgar R. Fox were honored and recognized for their service and sacrifice during the battle.
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT), Adm. Samuel Paparo, Commissioner, American Battlefields Monuments Commission, Raymond D. Kemp Sr, and Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Cynthia Martinez, were in attendance and spoke during the event.
The ceremony featured a Hawaiian ‘Oli (chant) by Kahu (minister) Kordell Kekoa, as well as musical performances by The Texas Children’s Choir and COMPACFLT’s band.
“The victory at Midway represented a calculated turning point in the war in the Pacific,” said Paparo. “The balance of sea power had begun to shift and ultimately led to victory for the allies.”
Paparo went on to speak on the importance of the alliance shared today between the United States and Japan.
“Today, we are enjoined in a great alliance,” said Paparo. “Out of the terrible fires and lessons, and among former enemies, has come a kinship celebrating those who died in the Battle of Midway and moving forward with our common values of dignity and respect for each other.”
During the ceremony, Battle of Midway veterans Navy Watertender First Class Julian Hodges and U.S. Marine Corps Private 1st Class Edgar R. Fox were honored and recognized for their service and sacrifice during the battle.
“It is an honor to perpetuate and pay tribute to the brave men who secured the freedom we hold dear today,” said Martinez. “We celebrate the freedom and peace that was ushered in decades ago because of their great courage, dedication, and sacrifices, and we seek to continue to learn from them.”
Following speeches by Paparo, Martinez, and Kemp, distinguished guests participated in a wreath-laying ceremony to pay their respects.
The Battle of Midway, fought June 4-7, 1942 in the Pacific Ocean, was a decisive battle during World War II, and is regarded as the turning point of the war. Three Navy aircraft carriers – USS Enterprise (CV-6), USS Hornet (CV-8) and USS Yorktown (CV-5), as well as land-based bombers, defeated an Imperial Japanese force which featured four aircraft carriers of their own.
Leading up to the battle, Commander Joseph J. Rochefort and Lieutenant Commander Edwin T. Layton, intelligence officers at Combat Intelligence Unit, known as Station Hypo and located in Pearl Harbor, led radio deception operations resulting in vital information for Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, on the future location and objectives of the Imperial Japanese forces.
Today, the U.S.-Japan Alliance is a cornerstone of peace and security in a free and open Indo-Pacific region.