South Texas Navy Commemorates Battle of Midway


South Texas Navy commemorated the 70th anniversary of the turning point in the Pacific during World War II, with a Battle of Midway ceremony aboard the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay, June 4.

Among the guests honored at the ceremony was Bob McKinley, a retired chief petty officer who served on board the USS Enterprise (CV 6) flight deck during the battle.

We take a few minutes to remember some of these men and some of their deeds, and we honor those who lived it,” said Capt. Chuck Hollingsworth, chief of staff for Chief of Naval Air Training and the guest speaker at the ceremony. “And, young Bob McKinley here with us today was on the flight deck releasing the hooks of carrier aircraft coming aboard.”

McKinley tied the Battle of Midway to South Texas adding that the local Flour Bluff High School’s mascot, the Hornet, was named after USS Hornet (CV 8), one of the three aircraft carriers that helped the U.S. Navy win the battle.

Also, one of NAS Corpus Christi’s outlying fields was named for Lt. Cmdr. John Waldron who is best remembered for his sacrifice and courage during the battle. Under his command, 15 bombers of Torpedo Squadron 8, left USS Hornet (CV 8) June 4, 1942, to engage Japanese forces.

“Cmdr. Waldron typified the core values of our Navy,” Hollingsworth said. “Today, we honor the veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice during this battle’s inspirational legacy. We remember that with the man behind me (retired Chief McKinley) lives a heritage that connects the past to the future and serves as a shining example of acting with honor courage and commitment. Chief, we offer our deepest gratitude and respect.”

“In the Navy we have two traditions that we hold annually,” said Lt. John Supple, master of ceremonies for the commemoration. “In October, we observe the Navy’s birthday to celebrate its establishment by the Continental Congress in 1775, and then, in June, we pause to acknowledge a moment in modern history where our ancestors showed to the nation that its faith and trust in our Navy is worthwhile.

“This annual event rests a little closer to our hearts, because we can see behind the curtain, so to speak, and into the history that is not often glorified, or understood, by most – yet it is extremely significant to our Navy’s successes at Midway,” Supple said.

The ceremony ended with a wreath laying from the deck of Lexington to the Gulf of Mexico.

Naval Today Staff, June 5, 2012