On June 4, 1942, the U.S. Navy, in an incredible victory, defeated the Japanese Navy at Midway, forever turning the tide of battle in the Pacific toward the United States. In 1994, the second Battle of Midway was waged to ensure Midway's proper place in U.S. history. That battle lasted five years in Congress -- until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's (USFWS) opposition to its passage was overcome. Although the bill was signed into law by President Clinton in November 2000, the provisions of the bill have been ignored by the USFWS for over 16 months. Its indifference to the designation was exemplified by its denial to grant the International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF) permission: (1) to place a flagpole which would fly the National Midway Memorial Flag; (2) to place a complimentary 5x3 foot National Memorial Monument at the site of IMMF's present monument.
The reason given for the denial was that these structures were a strike hazzard to the birds. This extreme attitude was the basic cause behind Midway Phoenix Corporation (MPC) severing its cooperative agreement with that agency. Complete coverage of "The Story Behind the Closing" can be found by visiting the IMMF's website (www.immf-midway.com) and clicking on "newsletter."
In March 2002, according to a USFWS official "...the days of the concept of eco-tourism are over at Midway and the Atoll will now be run as a remote refuge." Extremism can never successfully be dealt with by compromise, for there is no compromising with people who hold extreme points of view.
The USFWS has been unable to effectively balance the critical multi-functional purpose of Midway Atoll, making decisions and implementing procedures which favor its mission for refuge preservation, while obstructing the justifiable aviation and historic functions of the Midway Islands. Jurisdiction over Midway must be in the hands of an agency that can function in a manner that respects equally the concerns of caring for the Wildlife Refuge and the National Memorial. The answer lies in the bill proposed by the International Midway Memorial Foundation that replaces the USFWS with another federal agency.
***The story behind the closing of Midway Atoll has made the front page of The Washington Times and has been reported by the Associated Press. The New York Times is in the process of covering the story in its "Travel" section.***
Between May 31 and June 4, 2002 the IMMF -- in close association with the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet headquarters -- will host a series of events commemorating those who fought in the first six months of WW II in the Pacific and including the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. To begin the week of events there will be a cocktail reception at which Rear Admiral Robert T. Conway, Jr., USN, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group, Middle Pacific will be the keynote speaker. The reception will be held on the Halekulani Hotel's Hau Terrace. Following the reception, detailed programs of the week's events will be made available and there will be a question and answer session.
On June 1st and 2nd, 2002, the IMMF, with the support of the U.S. Navy, will host a two day symposium on the first six months of World War II in the Pacific. The symposium will be held in the Building 2 Auditorium on the base at Pearl Harbor. The Foundation is honored to have the following panelists to date: Dr. John Ballard, professor of Military Operational Art at the Naval War College; Colonel Keith Maxfield, USMC (Ret.), well-versed in World War II history; Daniel A. Martinez, Chief Historian at Arizona Memorial Park; William A. Tunstall, USN* (CV-8); Rollin Schwirtz, USN* (USS HAMMANN); and your president as moderator. Persons interested on being on this panel, please contact me.
Another highlight of the week will be a commemorative ceremony aboard the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial on June 3, 2002. This ceremony will honor the veterans of the United States and its allies who fought during the first six months of World War II in the Pacific. Brigadier General Jerry Hagen, USMC (Ret.) has accepted the IMMF's invitation to present the "Historical Perspectives" for the program and Rear Admiral Conway will represent the U.S. Navy at this ceremony. The IMMF's invitation to the Secretary of Defense as keynote speaker on June 3 has been acknowledged by his office. However, efforts are under way to find another keynote speaker, given the current world situation. The IMMF has created a beautiful 14K gold tattered flag lapel pin, in commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Battle of Midway and the first six months of World War II in the Pacific. This pin will be presented to the veterans and dignitaries at the ceremony.
Finally, on June 4, 2002 on the Hau Terrace, a black tie/summer mess dress Midway Night Dinner will conclude the week honoring the men who fought during those early dark days of World War II in the Pacific. The Foundation is waiting for the name of the new Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet so as to invite him to be keynote speaker for the Dinner. (Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, USN has recently been promoted to Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command.) Rear Admiral Robert Conway, Jr. and his wife will honor us with their presence and Brigadier General Ralph E. Parker, USMC (Ret.) has graciously accepted the Foundation's invitation to be the President of the Mess. The presentation of the Midway Medallions will be preceeded by the proclaimation of the "Origin of the Midway Medallion" by Captain James A. Noone, USNR (Ret.), Esq. The Foundation will be proud to present to the guests the first showing of its short documentary entitled "Against All Odds." The "Night" is developing into one that we will all remember for a very long time.
***Seated is limited to all events. The total cost for all events is $160.00*** The program is enclosed in this newsletter. I encourage those who are interested in attending the commemorative events in Hawaii to fill out the invitation and return it to the IMMF soon.
The IMMF, in Association with Public Interest Video, has produced an outstanding promotional film entitled "Against All Odds." This film is available on VHS or DVD at a cost of $25.00 per video plus shipping and handling charges. The Foundation is proud of this production and looks forward to completing its full length version of "Against All Odds."
Eighth grade students in Montgomery County met the January 31, 2002 deadline and submitted their essays on the "Battle of Midway." The winners will be selected and notified by May 15, 2002 and will receive their awards in a ceremony on the steps of the Capitol in late June 2002.
The Foundation has sumitted a formal request for 1500 square feet of space in the HYPO UNIT at Pearl Harbor. The space will be used to create a "mini-museum" in honor of then LCDR Joseph J. Rochefort, USN and his men, whose efforts played such a vital role during the first six months of World War II in the Pacific, and in the outcome of the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. This request has preliminary approval by the Public Works Center of Navy Region Hawaii. However, the request will need to be sent up the chain of command to Admiral Conway and ultimately to the office of the Secretary of the Navy for his signature. In the meantime, the IMMF has been in close contact with Chief Chris Reyher, USN, Naval Intelligence, Pearl Harbor and has met with Chief Thomas Roskelly who is with Naval Intelligence at Fort Meade, Maryland. Also, There is a planned meeting with Rear Admiral Donald "Mac" Showers, USN (Ret.), President of Naval Intelligence Professionals in two weeks to discuss the museum. The admiral was a member of Rochefort's team which broke the broke the Japanese code just prior to the Battle of Midway. We look forward to this important meeting.
It is with great pride that I announce that the Board of Directors had a meeting in March and unanimously voted Jim to the position of Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. This decision was based on Jim's talents as a lawyer and advisor to the Foundation and to the enormous amount of effort and work he has put forth to ensure the success of the IMMF's projects. Thank you, Jim.
Major J.Douglas Rollow, USMCR (Ret.) retired in March 2002 from the Foundation's Board of Directors. He has accepted the IMMF's invitation to remain on its Honorary Board. Doug was with us in those early dark days of the IMMF's beginnings. Through his efforts and contacts, the IMMF was able to raise funds to survive and thus establish -- and accomplish -- its goals. We can never thank Doug enough for the role he has played in the Foundation. He will always be part of the IMMF. Thank you, Doug.
General H.C. Stackpole, who has greatly assisted the Foundation's efforts during its annual week of commemorative events in Hawaii, has accepted his invitation to become an Active Member of the IMMF's Board of Trustess. General Stackpole is the President of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. We are honored and pleased to have the general officially on board.
Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, USN
General Fred C. Weyand, USA (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Robert T. Conway, Jr., USN
General H.C. Stackpole, USMC (Ret.)
Rear Admiral "Whitey L. Feightner, USN (Ret.)
Captain James A. Noone, USNR (Ret.) Esq.
Major J. Douglas Rollow, USMCR (Ret.)
Chief Chris Reyher, USN
Midway Phoenix Corporation
The Washington Times
The Australian Pacific War Historical Society
With a crew of Americans, loyal and brave as could be,
Fighting a just cause, Freedom, Religion, Life and Liberty.
With Our Creator at head, we're destined to win,
As an American Nation, we'll fight to the end.