Naval History and Heritage Command

Commemoration Resources

Battle of Midway Graphics

Pop-Up Display Graphics and Infographic

Midway Themes and Messages

Purpose of the Commemoration

  • June 4, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary of the Navy’s, and the nation’s, most historically significant naval victory. The Battle of Midway (June 3–7, 1942) changed the tide of the war in the Pacific and the course of world history.
  • The lessons of the Battle of Midway endure: we are a maritime nation, and our security will always be tied to the sea.
  • June 4–7 is a time to celebrate the fighting spirit and sacrifice of those who fought fearlessly against an honorable and formidable opponent.
  • Commemorating the Battle of Midway connects the current generation of Sailors with those who fought in this great battle so that they may take these hard-won lessons with them as they lead us into the future.

Midway's Place in History

  • Regarded as a critical turning point in the Pacific during World War II, the Battle of Midway was one of the greatest naval battles the world had ever witnessed.
  • During the Battle of Midway, seven ships slipped beneath the waves and 3,364 men lost their lives in the service of their respective countries.
  • Midway was a dramatic victory. Facing four veteran Japanese aircraft carriers, the U.S. Navy won the battle with only three aircraft carriers—Enterprise (CV-6), Hornet (CV-8), and Yorktown (CV-5)—augmented by land-based fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes from Midway.
  • The balance of sea power in the Pacific shifted from Japan to an equity between America and Japan. Soon after the Battle of Midway, the United States and its allies would take the offensive in the Pacific.
  • Admiral Chester W. Nimitz’s informed willingness to take a calculated risk changed the complexion of the conflict in the Pacific. The U.S. Pacific Fleet commander’s active preparations for the Battle of Midway provided a momentous reception for the enemy, and once he had issued his operations orders, he entrusted the fighting of the battle to subordinates. Those subordinates, from flag officers and fighter pilots to enlisted crewmen, more than justified his faith in them. They had written, Admiral Nimitz declared afterward, “. . . a glorious page in our history.”

Focus of the Commemoration

As U.S. Navy ships and units around the globe commemorate the Battle of Midway and World War II, the focus of their efforts should be to honor the past and inspire the future by highlighting our people, our core attributes, and the unique value of carrier aviation, global presence, and innovation.

People

  • More than battles and bullets, our Sailors’ toughness, initiative, accountability, and integrity made us victorious.
  • Inspired by the same attributes as “The Greatest Generation,” today’s Sailors and civilians carry on a two-century tradition of warfighting excellence, adaptation, and resilience.

Core Attributes

  • Integrity. We actively strengthen each other's resolve to act consistently with our values. As individuals, as teams, and as a Navy, our conduct must always be upright and honorable both in public and when nobody's looking.
  • Accountability. We are a mission-focused force. We achieve and maintain high standards. Our actions support our strategy. We clearly define the problem we're trying to solve and the proposed outcomes. In execution, we honestly assess our progress and adjust as required—we are our own toughest critic.
  • Initiative. On their own, Sailors strive to be the best they can be and give 100%. Our leaders take ownership and act to the limit of their authorities. We foster a questioning attitude and look at new ideas with an open mind. Our most junior teammate may have the best idea; we must be open to capturing that idea.
  • Toughness. We can take a hit and keep going, tapping all sources of strength and resilience: rigorous training for operations and combat, the fighting spirit of our people, and the steadfast support of our families. We don't give up the ship.

Unique Value of Carrier Aviation

  • Today, like during the Battle of Midway, the Navy’s carrier strike group (CSG) is central to our nation’s security interests around the world.
  • U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike groups (CSGs) are unequalled as single, responsive, flexible, and mobile packages that provide strategic options and flexibility required by combatant commanders.
  • Unfettered by geopolitical constraints, no negotiations or other permissions are required to employ this capability because strike group ships are sovereign U.S. territory.
  • The United States needs CSG presence to fulfill the National Military Strategy of the United States, which requires the capacity, capability, and readiness to simultaneously:
    • defend the homeland
    • conduct sustained, distributed counterterrorist operations
    • deter aggression
    • assure regional allies through forward presence and routine engagement
  • CSG presence provides a visible deterrence to those who would disrupt maritime commerce and a reassurance to those who value freedom of the seas.

Global Presence

  • The U.S. Navy has provided credible combat power that has been singularly important in our national security, especially when challenged with uncertainty and aggression.
  • The U.S. Navy has been a cornerstone of security and prosperity, especially since the end of World War II.
  • A strong, capable, and credible Navy discourages miscalculation by potential adversaries and is the surest guarantor of security and regional prosperity.

Innovation

  • Understanding the devastating truths of war inspires respect for the necessity to find peaceful solutions to conflict.
  • The U.S. Navy is dedicated to maintaining the technological edge to ensure we are never surprised by an adversary again.
  • Innovation at the Battle of Midway increased the Navy’s lethality, giving America the necessary advantage to turn the tide and win World War II.
Published:Wed Jun 14 12:56:13 EDT 2017