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thedrifter
06-20-02, 07:02 AM
Many Americans' awareness of significant World War II dates starts with
Dec. 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor), and ends with June 6, 1944
(D-Day). But without the stunning U.S. victory in the Battle of Midway
on June 4, 5 and 6, 1942, the bad guys might have won the
"The Big One" - or at least would have forced the good guys' ultimate
triumph in humanity's bloodiest war to be much bloodier.
When that battle began 60 years ago today, the United States was
still reeling from a series of disheartening defeats. Though
the Doolittle Raid of bombers over Tokyo on April 18, 1942, had provided
a timely American morale boost, Imperial Japan remained
on the offensive in the Pacific.
The next three days dramatically changed that dynamic for the rest
of the war and changed naval combat forever. The mighty
warships engaged in the Battle of Midway found themselves superceded,
and frequently destroyed, by the rise of air power.
Outnumbered and outgunned by a vast Japanese armada, U.S. forces
somehow decisively prevailed. The Japanese lost four
aircraft carriers and more than 300 planes at Midway. More importantly,
they lost the strategic initiative.
The United States suffered serious losses at Midway, too, including
the sinking of the original USS Aircraft Carrier Yorktown,
eventually replaced by a ship of the same name. Also known as "The
Fighting Lady," the second Yorktown distinguished herself
later in the war and beyond, and now rests at Patriots Point.
As a result of American courage, determination, skill, insight and,
by the victors' own admission, luck, we won at Midway. As a
result, the world is a much better place.
A dwindling number of the Americans who re-directed history onto a
positive path at Midway are still alive six decades later. Like
their contemporaries who helped achieve our indispensable World War II
victory, they deserve their "Greatest Generation" label, and
our everlasting gratitude.


Sempers,

Roger