Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Wood, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest
OAK HARBOR, Wash. – Regarded as the decisive battle for the Pacific and turning point in World War II, the Battle of Midway did not come without its sacrifices and everyone who gathered at the PBY-Naval Air Museum Catalina aircraft on Friday, June 2, honored the 75th anniversary of those who served and died in this memorable battle.
The annual commemoration ceremony was hosted by Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and the PBY-Naval Air Museum.
Capt. Geoffrey Moore, commanding officer, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, served as a guest speaker for the ceremony.
“Spouses, family, military supporters, I’m honored to join you today with the great men and women of today’s Navy in paying tribute to the greatest generation’s greatest naval victory.”
Moore gave a brief history of the battle and emphasized the hard fought victory, but also the price with which it was bought.
“The Navy’s victory at Midway did come at a cost. The Yorktown was sunk, after significant bodily damage and a failed Japanese torpedo strike. More devastating was the loss of 307 American lives.”
Moore explained the uncertain nature of that victory and through such courage, valor and determination, the men who fought in the Battle of Midway now provide a beacon for today’s generation and the generations to come.
“So the question we ask today,” Moore continued, “Does today’s Navy and naval aviation represent the attributes of toughness, accountability, integrity, and initiative displayed 75 years ago during naval aviation’s finest hour?”
Moore answered that question with a resounding yes.
“Our Sailors have not only inherited a long and proud tradition, but they have embraced it.”
The ceremony was concluded with a wreath-laying by Moore and Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Killian Ferrell. Culinary Specialist 1st Class John Contreras performed Taps as everyone stood in silence, reflecting on Capt. Moore’s words and the victory through which men served and died to achieve.