Sunday, June 06, 2004


Rev. Donald Sensing has a moving tribute to the flyers of Midway: "They saved the world. Not all by themselves, but they did save it, and you should know that". Bill Hobbs wrote on the battle here. This site is an excellent resource for the history of a battle which should always, forever be remembered.

It has become commonplace to frame the American victory in WWII as a triumph of industrial production. We speak of "wearing down" Japan through the "weight of out planes and ships." While this is somewhat true of 1944 and 1945, it ignores the fact that the U.S. Navy fought the Japanese to a standstill in 1942 from a position of numerical inferiority. The loss of four carriers at Midway ended the expansion of the Japanese empire. Yet, by October 1942, the Americans had also lost four carriers. Despite this, we continued our advance through the Solomons and New Guinea. That advance was fueled by little more than skill and courage.

I found this remark interesting. It is from Samuel E. Morison's volume on Coral Sea and Midway:

Vice Admiral William S. Pye's battleship task force, after several weeks shuttling between West Coast ports, Hawaii, and the Line Islands, anchored in San Francisco Bay. Owing, in part, to the insulting attitude of San Franciscans toward battleship sailors on liberty, all hands from the Admiral down were eager to get into the fight.

Is it something in the air off the bay that makes the people there inhospitable to the men who protect them?

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