VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Seventy-eight years ago, and just six months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor the U.S. Navy became engaged in one of the most significant air-sea battles of World War II.
To commemorate this historical event, Rear Adm. John F. Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, honored the service and dedication of all who participated in one of the greatest sea battles during a live-stream ceremony at the Naval Aviation Memorial Park in Virginia Beach, June 4.
“The Battle of Midway represents the finest attributes of our Navy ethos of honor, courage, and commitment and what must never be lost is the memory of those who have served and those who serve today as no matter the pace of technology, no matter the complexity of the machines, our Navy will continue to rely on our nation’s most precious resource, that being her sons and daughters,” said Meier.
From June 3 through June 7, 1942, the Battle of Midway was fought near the central Pacific Ocean island of Midway, turning the tide of war in favor of the United States over the Japanese Imperial Navy. During the livestream ceremony, Meier referenced the call for aircraft carriers remains paramount today as it once did 78 years ago.
“Today and well into the future, much like President Roosevelt asked immediately following Pearl Harbor, our air craft carriers stand ready to answer,” said Meier. "The question of where are the aircraft carriers still remains today."
Meier added that similar to the carriers of World War II, "the carriers of today embody maneuver warfare, and they evolve as the Air Wing evolves, for it is the Air Wing that represents the true striking power of our Navy,” said Meier.
Retired Capt. Mark Hunter, former commanding officer of Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana, delivered a proclamation on behalf of Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer in recognition of the Battle of Midway.
The ceremony included a flyover featuring four U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 103 and 143, both based at NAS Oceana.
“A four aircraft formation of F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft flown in honor of the brave men who fought and gave their lives in defense of the United States," said COMNAVAIRLANT's Force Master Chief Huben Phillips, who presided over the ceremony.
The ceremony was concluded by Musician 2nd Class Jonathan Starr, from Bradford, N.H., and a member of the U.S. Fleet Forces Band who performed Taps.
Meier assumed command of COMNAVAIRLANT on May 1 relieving Rear Adm. Roy Kelley. COMNAVAIRLANT is responsible for six nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, 54 aircraft squadrons, 1,200 aircraft and 43,000 officers, enlisted and civilian personnel based on the East Coast of the United States. It provides combat ready, sustainable naval air forces with the right personnel, properly trained and equipped, with a focus on readiness, operational excellence, interoperability, safety, and efficient resourcing.
The ceremony can be viewed by visiting https://www.facebook.com/FlyNavy/