Sacrifice, 80 Years On

2022 June 4
by drdog09

“The annals of war at sea present no more intense, heart-shaking shock…the qualities of the United States Navy and Air Force and the American race shone forth in splendor”.

– Winston Churchill, on Midway

80 years ago today, at 10:20am American dive bombers sank the Japanese carriers Akagi, Kaga and Soryu. Later that day a second attack sunk the Hiryu. The result was the end of the Japanese control of the Pacific and the beginning of the long slog that ended in Tokyo Bay.

The Japanese had every advantage save one,


Between the USAAF, Navy and Marines, 307 lives were lost.

Some memorable outcomes:

  • John Ford the well known director, but less so then, was attached to the signal corp. CNO had directed he be present at the time and filmed the incoming Japanese assault on Midway that day.
  • Cmdr Richard Best, is still the only US Naval aviator to sink two enemy carriers in a single day. He was discharged in 1944 due to injuries sustained that day. Worked for the Rand Corporation till his retirement. Best passed away in 2001.
  • Cmdr Wade McClusky, was air wing commander at the time of Midway. His wing sank the Kaga. McClusky served a series of posts for the balance of his career retiring in 1956 a rear admiral. A USN frigate, USS McClusky is named in his honor. Wade passed away in 1976.
  • LtCmdr ‘Max’ Leslie was wing lead on Yorktown at the time of the battle. Leslie’s wing in concert with McClusky’s air group sank the first three carriers that morning. Leslie served in the USN in various capacities till his retirement as Captain in 1956. Leslie passed away in 1985.
  • Admiral Halsey was expected to lead the task force to meet the Japanese but was beached by a skin disease. Spruance who did command the task force is little heralded by history as he detested the press. (I must say, impeccable taste that, he knew what was coming.)
  • Cmdr Joseph Rochefort, was the lead code breaker in the lead up to Midway. A brilliant man who had the termidity to prove official circles wrong about Japanese intentions. He had a particular talent for poking obstinate admirals. Even so he lead the Pacific Strategic Intelligence Group until his retirement. A building is named in his honor at the NSA facility, Joint Base Hickam, Hawaii. Rochefort passed away in 1976.

Midway is the last battle that the US Navy won on sheer grit and guile. After that, till this day, the USN operates under the doctrine of sheer force of attrition.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. 2022 June 5 9:23 am
    JimNorCal permalink

    A commenter posted this link at TheNewNeo.
    I haven’t watched it yet ….

    “There is an Battle of Midway 80th Anniversary YouTube video that you may like.
    Three hour Q/A with John Parshall who co-authored the book “Shattered Sword”
    Drachinifel is the host.”

  2. 2022 June 5 6:24 pm
    mulletover permalink

    Very interesting post, drdog.

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