USS George H.W. Bush Commemorates 70th Anniversary of Battle of Midway


USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway with a ceremony in the ship’s hangar bay, June 4.

The ceremony was hosted by Commander, Naval Air Forces, Atlantic Adm. Ted N. Branch; and was attended by more than 300 service members and civilians, to include retired Adm. Joseph Prueher, a World War II (WWII) veteran and Virginia Beach, Va., business owner.

USS George H.W. Bush Commanding Officer Capt. Brian E. Luther also laid a wreath to pay homage to the men who lost their lives during the battle.

“It is especially fitting that we hold this ceremony here on board this warship that bears the name of a living namesake who participated in many of the combat operations that followed this event,” Luther said. “George H.W. Bush experienced first hand the result of this great battle as he flew combat missions in the carrier-based torpedo bomber, the TBM Avenger in 1944.”

The Battle of Midway, considered the turning point of WWII, took place June 4-7, 1942, when the Japanese sent the majority of their naval force to capture Midway Island, which was being used by U.S. forces as an airfield. The battle was unique in history as neither side saw the opponent; it was fought primarily by aircraft launched from aircraft carriers.

By the battle’s end, the Japanese had to retreat after losing air superiority. The U.S. lost the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV 10) while four Japanese fleet carriers were lost along with their crews. This marked the dawn of the U.S. Navy’s global prominence and the coming of age of carrier aviation.

“Each year across the fleet and around the world, we remind ourselves what the Battle of Midway means to our Navy and our nation,” said Branch. “I think what is most noteworthy is what Midway represents for the legacy of the U.S. Navy and to all of us. At its heart, it was about spirit, innovation, courage, and sacrifice. Seventy years later, these same qualities still define these American Sailors.”

After speaking on the Battle of Midway and the impact it has had on the military today, Branch introduced Prueher to speak about the Battle of Midway.

“This battle did not take place anywhere close to the mainland, but the death and destruction that occurred during this battle was staggering,” said Prueher. “There is individual heroism, but the great victories are only achieved through teamwork and that is what happened at Midway.”

Naval Today Staff, June 6, 2012