Thach Sailors Conduct Battle of Midway Commemoration

Story Number: NNS110606-09Release Date: 6/6/2011 11:53:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Stuart Phillips, Southern Seas 2011 Public Affairs

USS THACH, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard guided-missile frigates USS Thach (FFG 43) and USS Boone (FFG 28) recognized the sacrifices and the victory of the U.S. Sailors who fought in the Battle of Midway June 4-7 1942, with a ceremony, June 5.

The ceremony commemorated the Battle of Midway, which was the turning point of World War II for the allies engaged with Japanese forces in the Pacific Theater.

"Today, over 60 years later, we remember that battle, and we remember our shipmates who fought there at great cost to defend our country," said Cmdr. Jeffrey Scudder, USS Thach commanding officer. "We do this in hopes that in their memory, we will continue in the same spirit to defend all that they so selflessly gained."

Following Scudder's address, a large wreath was ceremoniously lifted over the starboard side of the foc'sle by Chief Warrant Officer William Hillman and Command Senior Chief Joshua Gabriele, and then it was slowly lowered as a seven-man rifle detail fired a 21-gun salute.

"Midway was operationally very risky, and tactically very dangerous," said Hillman. "It was audacious, but it was necessary and losing was not an option."

The Battle of Midway is especially significant to the crew of Thach, as the frigate is named for a naval aviator who played a pivotal role in the battle.

"One of the brave participants of the battle was John "Jimmy" S. Thach," said Scudder. "Soon after the Battle of Coral Sea, then Lt. Cmdr. Thach developed the 'Thach Weave.'"

The "Thach Weave" was an innovative fighter maneuver used to gain a tactical advantage over faster, more maneuverable aircraft.

"This fighter tactic was put to the test for the first time at Midway," said Scudder. "The result was overwhelmingly successful, as he shot down six Japanese Zeroes, driving the remaining fighter defense umbrella away. Thach remained on station to protect U.S. torpedoes and dive bombers during their subsequent attack and retirement."

After the battle, Thach was awarded the Navy Cross for the second time for his actions.

Boone also rendered honors to the occasion with the reading of a commemorative address and the firing of a 21-gun salute using the 40 mm saluting battery.

Boone and Thach are participating in naval exercises with the Chilean navy off the southwestern coast of Chile as part of Southern Seas 2011.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

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The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) is anchored in the Strait of Magellan.
Official U.S. Navy file photo.
May 27, 2011
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