The President of the International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF) was notified by the Harry F. Burroughs, III, Staff Director of the Subcommittee of Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans Committee that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the lack of public access to Midway Atoll. This hearing will take place on May 26, 2005 at the Longworth House Office Building, Room 1324 at 10:00 a.m. The hearing will consist of three panels. The first panel includes Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr., (TN), Dr. William S. Dudley, former Director of Naval Historical Center, Captain James A. Noone, USNR (Ret.), Esq., Vice Chairman of the IMMF and myself. The second panel consists of ham radio operators that travel to the Pacific and the third panel will be a representative from the USFWS.
I have been told by a reporter of The Washington Times that they will cover the hearing. Others have said they will attend the hearing. The next issue of the "Midway Sentinel" will report full coverage of the hearing.
*** UPDATE *** You may read the complete transcript of testimony given by IMMF's president, James M. D'Angelo, at the hearing by clicking here
The Foundation will be meeting with staff members of Senator Richard G.Lugar regarding the lack of public access to the Midway Islands, scheduled for Monday, May 16, 2005. The purpose of the meeting is to resolve the issues that prevent public access to Midway. The reader is reminded that in the legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 2000, the DOI was directed to provide public access to Midway as well as designate the Atoll a National Memorial.
The Phoenix Air Corporation (PAC), in efforts to deliver critical materials to our Australian Allies, needed access to Midway's airstrip for the refueling necessary for its plane's flight across the Pacific. THE USFWS SUDDENLY AND UNEXPECTEDLY DENIED THIS PERMISSION!!
Only after the intercession of the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) was the permission granted. An agreement was reached by the Refuge Manager and Phoenix Air on April 5, 2005. With this in mind, the PAC finalized its contract with the Department of Defense (DOD). The very next day, the USFWS in Hawaii notified PAC that there would be a $5,000 special permit fee and the cost of the jet fuel would be nearly doubled, rising from $2.75 a gallon to $5.00 dollars a gallon. The exorbitant fees and increases to PAC were e-mailed by the USFWS project leader in Hawaii to its offices in Midway, Alaska and Portland BUT NOT THE DOI IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
The IMMF has updated and revised its web page. The web page was voted by Yahoo---during its first week of existence---as the number one web site in the country. Those interested in visiting the web page at WWW.IMMF-MIDWAY.COM will see a revision in the goals of the Foundation under "CURRENTS PROJECTS". A new special feature is a page with a listing of all the previous "Midway Sentinel" editions published on the web site. One may now click on the desired newsletter and review it.
In addition, new technology will allow the IMMF's web page to operate faster and easier than ever before. Further revisions are planned for the future.
The official list of those attending the 65th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Midway in Hawaii and on Midway is up to twenty people. More details and promotion of the week's events will occur over the next 6 months.
Major J. Douglas Rollow, Jr., is a Midway veteran and recipient of the Navy Cross for his action taken in the Battle of Midway.
In the early morning hours of June 4, 1942, he scrambled his plane into the air from Eastern Island and headed NW toward the Japanese carriers. He was flying one of the 16 recently-received SBD-2 divebombers handed down to the Marines from the Navy. The pilots had barely less than 9 days flying time in their new planes. As a result, they could only glide down on their target rather than dive when making their attack. The squadron leader of VMSB-241 was Major Lofton Henderson, whom Doug idealized as a father figure. As his group approached the Japanese carriers, Zeroes swarmed all over the divebombers and Doug headed for the clouds. Later, descending from the clouds, he unexpectently came directly over the HIRYU. He flew length-wise over the middle of her deck and could actually see the faces of the Japanese men below him. Releasing his bomb (he was later disappointed to learn) he imparted only a near miss on the famed Japanese carrier.
Finding his way back to Midway, he safely landed his plane. He was decorated with the Navy Cross in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, in December 1942.
Major Rollow was one the very early supporters of the concept of the IMMF and it was directly through his efforts that the financial viability of the Foundation was sustained in the early days following the Foundation's inception. Recently, Major Rollow's political and insightful contributions has led to his reappointment on the Active Board of Trustees of the IMMF.
After the meeting between the IMMF and the Washington-based "Coalition for Midway", the Foundation sent a letter to Admiral Lewis recommending that a spirit of cooperation and exchange of ideas exist between the two groups.
Last year, your President committed to author a manuscript that he hopes will be the definitive account of the Battle of Midway entitled "The Battle of Midway: An Historical Perspective". Dr. William S. Dudley, former Director of the Naval Historical Center, has agreed to review the manuscript upon its completion.
Vice Admiral William D. Houser invited your President to attend the 63rd commemoration of the Battle of Midway by the U.S. Naval Academy. Following the parade was a ceremony at the Battle of Midway Monument, a reception at the Superintendent's home and a lecture on the Battle Of Midway by former Secretary of Defense, the Honorable James R. Schlesinger. A good time was had by all.
Chris and I give our best to everyone and look forward to communicating with you in the next newsletter. Stay tuned and don't touch that dial!