NAVOCEANO Commemorates Battle of Midway

Story Number: NNS120621-22Release Date: 6/21/2012 1:08:00 PM
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By Kaley Turfitt, Naval Oceanographic Office, Public Affairs

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NNS) -- The Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway and the lives lost, by laying a wreath over the side of oceanographic survey vessel USNS Pathfinder, June 4.

The Battle of Midway is considered the most significant naval battle during World War II.

"While the battle of Midway served as a critical turning point during the war, NAVOCEANO recognizes the importance of remembering those who have served with honor before us and the sacrifices that were made over those few days," said Capt. Dean Sadanaga, NAVOCEANO executive officer. "And it is a solemn reminder of the privilege of service."

The battle took place approximately six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, at the Midway Atoll located in the North Pacific Ocean between Japan and Hawaii. This small island is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, which the Navy occupied during World War II. It served as a refueling and break port for Navy ships, a submarine base, and it was one of two bases protecting the U.S. West Coast, along with Pearl Harbor.

In the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan was making strategic plans to maintain their power in the Pacific. Their next target was the Midway Atoll, which they knew played a significant role in U.S. naval operations. However, the U.S. had broken the Japanese naval code and determined that the planned surprise attack would take place either June 4 or 5. To prepare, the U.S. Navy began making plans of its own.

The commander in chief of the Pacific Ocean Areas, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, sent for reinforcements, and soon Midway was well-equipped to fight the Japanese. The first initial attacks took place at 12:30 a.m. June 3. The battle continued for the next four days and finally ceased just after 6 p.m. June 7.

In total, Japan had lost four of its six carriers in the battle, which ended Japan's supremacy in the Pacific. Although Japan continued to expand its war efforts into the South Pacific, the loss it suffered during the Battle of Midway took a toll on its manpower.

NAVOCEANO, comprised of approximately 1,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel, is responsible for providing oceanographic products and services to all elements within the Department of Defense.

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