On Friday, March 24, 2006, Vice Admiral William Houser, USN (Ret.) and Rear Admiral Whitey Feightner, USN (Ret.), Captain James Noone, USNR (Ret.), Esq and myself met with Randal Bowman, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife.
Judge Manson had retired recently from his position as Assistant Secretary for the Fish and Wildlife Service and a replacement was pending. In the meantime, Randal Bowman was pleased to meet with us regarding holding the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Midway on Midway Atoll.
The International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF) learned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) would hold a major event on Midway Atoll to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. That event would include the participation of the IMMF and its members. The USFWS had also expressed a desire to mend the recent frayed relationship between that Service and the Foundation. The IMMF expressed its willingness to do the same.
We inquired if a sign—similar to the one on Midway that recognizes the Atoll as a National Wildlife Refuge—was in place for the National Memorial designation. We learned that Judge Manson had ordered one before his retirement. However, we later learned that the sign was not yet in place but that the FWS had plans to erect one sign which included both designations. We proposed that if the designation sign could not be funded by the USFWS, the Foundation would be pleased to donate a sign as part of the 2007 ceremony on Midway Atoll. ***See attached letter***
Between May 30 and June 5, 2007, the Foundation will host a series of events commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.
To begin the week there will be a cocktail reception on the Hau Terrace of the Halekulani Hotel on the night of May 30 to welcome its members.
***The Halekulani Hotel will be the main headquarters of the Foundation for the week.***
On May 31 and June 1, the Foundation will host a two-day symposium on the Battle of Midway at the Halekulani Hotel.
On June 2 the scene will move to the decks of the USS Missouri where a guest speaker will present the historical significance of the Battle of Midway and a special ceremony will be held for those who fought and died in this historical Battle, including a flyover by the U.S. Navy.
On the night of June 3, the Foundation will host its Seventh Annual Midway Night Dinner on the Hau Terrace of the Halekulani Hotel. The dress will be black tie/summer mess. This event will conclude the series of events on Oahu and will be dedicated to honoring and presenting a "farewell to arms" to the "Men of Midway."
One of the highlights of the week will be a very special Battle of Midway Commemorative Ceremony on Midway Atoll. For many Midway veterans, this will be their final farewell to a place where, 65 years ago, their stand changed the course of human history.
After the Ceremony, there is a hope that an overnight stay may be possible. I will let you know if this stay becomes a reality. Otherwise, we will return to Oahu on the same day for a final farewell to all the Midway veterans and their families.
P.O. Box 135
Bethany Beach, DE 19930
Phone: (302) 539-6645
Fax: (302) 539-6645
On Sunday, April 9, 2006, Douglas Rollow passed away. We send our condolences to his wife, Mary, and to his family and friends.
With his death, the nation has lost a great American. When duty called, Doug was there in early 1942, patching his old SB2U-3s with hospital tape on Midway Island in March of that year. Just prior to the battle, 16 SBD-2s arrived on Midway and 2nd LT. Douglas Rollow was able to pilot one of the dive bombers in search of the Japanese Fleet. He was in Squadron VMSB-241 and under the leadership of Major Lofton R. Henderson.
In the early morning hours of June 4, 1942, a variety of land-based planes left Midway Atoll to attack the Japanese carriers. Squadron VMSB-241 was among them. The 16 SBD-2s headed northwest to find the Japanese Naval task Force without fighter escort. The squadron reached the Japanese fleet at 0800 that morning just moments after the B-17s from Midway had released their bomb loads. Up to this point, none of the American planes from Midway had successfully landed a direct hit on any Japanese carrier. The closest hit came when Doug Rollow dove down out of the clouds only to sustain a near-miss on the Japanese carrier HIRYU.
Lt. Rollow was one of the eight SBD-2 planes that successfully returned to Midway. For his bravery and courage Doug was awarded the Navy Cross by then-Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox in December 1942.
Doug Rollow was one of my closest Midway veteran friends. He was instrumental in the early success of the International Midway Memorial Foundation. He was a member of the Board of Directors and later the Active Board of Trustees. His love for his country and the men of Midway was always foremost in his heart and an important part of his life.
I will always miss Doug, but I know that his being the last living member of VMSB-241, he is now very happy rejoining all of his comrades from that heroic squadron VMSB-241. God bless you Doug.
Update: Penne Trattoria will open for business by June 20, 2006. We are finally close to completion and ready for a series of four inspections. We are hearing a buzz of excitement from people living in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas.
Chris and I wish everyone a healthy summer. Stay tuned and don't touch that dial!!