On November 20, 2014 the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, chaired by John Fleming, M.D., held an oversight hearing in the Longworth Building entitled: "Is the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Being Properly Managed?"
The witnesses were Mr. Kevin Foerster, Regional Chief for the National Wildlife Refuge System in the Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); Mr. Chris Jordan, head of Chris Jordan Photographic Arts; Mr. Mike Daak, former employee of Midway Phoenix Corporation and myself. Each person was allowed five minutes to present his testimony which was followed by questions and answers by members of the subcommittee and the witnesses. It is my opinion that Mr. Foerster and Mr. Jordan (who has made a popular documentary about the birds on Midway), did not make a substantive case in defense of USFWS' management of the National Midway Memorial nor of the agency's care of the infrastructure on Midway. The testimony revealed that FWS had little interest in public visitation and has planned to eventually destroy all the historic buildings and structures as well as the two large fuel tanks that would supply the fuel necessary for a policy of sound fiscal and functional operation for Midway.
In his closing statement, Congressman John Fleming stated that the FWS has a failing grade for achieving public visitation to Midway and for allowing Midway's historic structures to deteriorate. He stated: "it was a mistake to make the Midway Islands a Wildlife Refuge" and that the USFWS has no interest, expertise or desire in the National Memorial. A video of the entire hearing can be seen here
An evaluation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is to follow that would study operating Midway at no tax-payers' expense as well as the removal of lead based paint on the structures on Midway. Stay tuned!
The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee accepted the IMMF's request to create a 75th anniversary commemorative stamp of the Battle of Midway. The concept will now be presented to the Advisory Committee for their review and consideration. Congressman John Duncan, Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation (former Chairman) and Congressman John Fleming, M.D., Chairman of the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs cosigned a letter in strong support of the idea
A series of three lectures will be presented to the students of the Sarasota Military Academy in early 2015, in Sarasota, Florida. The Academy has received awards for the academic achievement of its students. The student audience will consist of grades seven through twelve. The first lecture, entitled The Gathering Storm, will be held on January 30, 2015 and will cover the period from July 8, 1853 to June 3, 1942. The second lecture, entitled The Battle is Joined will be held on February 20, 2015 and discusses the Battle of Midway from June 3 to June 7. The third lecture, entitled Aftermath of the Battle: Analysis of the battle and its Significance will be held on March 20, 2015 and presents an analysis of the battle and its significance in world history. This series of lectures are designed to bring to the attention of the youth the history of the Battle of Midway. Next year at the Academy the school will implement a Battle of Midway essay contest.
I will be contacting the U.S. Naval Academy history department in January for a progress report on its U.S. Naval Academy Battle of Essay Midway Contest. In May 2015, a special ceremony will be held, where the Foundation will present a sterling silver Battle of Midway medallion to the winner of the contest.
No update from the U.S. Naval Institute Press on my manuscript entitled Pacific Rivalry at the Turning Point. The manuscript was submitted in January 2014.
Chris and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.