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Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti presents the Presidential Unit Citation to Chief Petty Officer Bill Norberg, a World War II veteran who served during the Battle of Midway.
ARLINGTON, Va. – Coinciding with the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Midway, Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti presented the Presidential Unit Citation to Chief Petty Officer Bill Norberg, a World War II veteran who served during the Battle of Midway, during a commemoration dinner at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va., June 4.
Norberg served aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6) during the Battle of Midway as the commanding officer’s phone talker.
“It is truly an honor to be here for the ceremony and being 100 years old, it is great being here tonight,” said Norberg. “I am proud to be a member of that ship and crew, which did so much to bring an end to the Pacific War.”
It has been said that at the heart of any Navy victory is the American Sailor, who is the greatest example of sacrifice and service. The Battle of Midway, fought June 3-7, 1942, demonstrates the heroism and courage of Sailors throughout a multi-day engagement, whose efforts ultimately blunted the Japanese navy’s striking force and advance across the Pacific.
Serving on Enterprise prior to the Battle of Midway, Norberg was also involved in other engagements leading up to the battle such as the Doolittle Raid.
“So many others there did so much more than I could have ever have dreamed of doing, and I owe them all the credit,” said Norberg. “I am glad to be here today to celebrate the anniversary of Midway and honor my compatriots.”
Enterprise aircraft helped to sink three Japanese aircraft carriers and a cruiser during the battle. These Sailors protected the United States against the enemy’s advance in World War II by severely damaging Imperial Japanese navy assets.
“Skill, faith, and valor, the courage and ingenuity of those brave Sailors in the central Pacific on a hot morning in June 1942, changed the course of the war,” said Franchetti. “It’s important that we continue to have this yearly commemoration, to honor and remember those heroes, and to reaffirm our commitment to their values, to ensure that we remain the world’s greatest maritime force, ready to fight and win at sea.”
The U.S. Navy’s victory at Midway represents a strategic turning point in the Pacific War. Prior to the battle, Japan had naval superiority. However, after the battle, opposing fleets were balanced and the United States took the offensive.
“It is with pride and reverence that the story of Midway must be passed on,” said Franchetti. “We should not let the actions of our heroes pass out of our common experience.”
Participating in 18 of the 20 major actions of the Pacific War, Enterprise was the most decorated warship of World War II earning 20 Battle Stars, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Unit Commendation.
Following the Battle of Midway, Norberg served on Enterprise until August 1945, when he transferred to Naval Station Great Lakes in Great Lakes, Ill. He was also stationed at Naval Air Technical Training Center in Millington, Tenn., Naval Station Orange, Texas, and Naval Station Norfolk, Va., until his discharge from the Navy in February 1947.
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