Between 3 and 6 June 1942, the U.S. Pacific Fleet turned back a Japanese attempt to capture Midway, the westernmost atoll in the Hawaiian chain, in a decisive action which cost the enemy four large aircraft carriers and forced Japan to assume a defensive posture. In Adm. Samuel E. Morison’s words, “Midway was a victory not only of courage, determination and excellent bombing technique, but of intelligence, bravely and wisely applied.” The American Navy’s triumph in the Battle of Midway foreshadowed Japan’s final surrender. The first Midway was named for the atoll, the second and third for the battle.
(AG‑41: dp. 2,250 (lim.); l. 238'8"; b. 33'8"; dr. 16'9"; s. 11.5 k.; cpl. 86; trp. 300; a. 1 3")
The first Midway, built in 1921 as Oritani by Todd Shipyards Corp. Brooklyn, N.Y. and renamed Tyee in 1939; was acquired by the Navy on a bareboat charter through WSA from Alaska Transportation Co., Seattle, Wash.; and commissioned at Puget Sound Navy Yard 10 April 1942.
Classified as general auxiliary, Midway operated along the Pacific coast between ports of the Northwestern United States and American bases in Alaska and the Aleutians. In January 1943 she steamed to Pearl Harbor and shuttled troops, provisions and equipment between the islands of the central Pacific. Renamed Panay 3 April 1943, she resumed the Alaskan run in the summer and continned this vital service to military and naval units in the far north through the end of the war.
Panay was decommissioned 24 May 1946 and was returned to her owner.