The underwater exploration group (Nauticos.com) has contacted the Foundation to form an alliance in a cooperative effort to find the four Japanese carriers sunk off Midway. Nauticos has a distinguished track record of deep ocean discoveries that include the I-52 in the Atlantic Ocean, the Israeli submarine Dakar and identifiable wreckage of the Japanese carrier Kaga, 18,000 below the surface of the Pacific Ocean in 1999. In addition, Nauticos has produced a documentary film with the Discovery Channel, viewable here. Its President, David W. Jourdan, has written a book published in 2015 entitled: The Search for the Japanese Fleet. Together, we are in the process of obtaining the necessary assistance and funding to carry out the mission, and are exploring mutual areas of interest for future ventures.
The GAO’s investigation into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) management of the Midway Atoll is ongoing. I was able to obtain a written statement from the USFWS that it has not done an audit of its operation of Midway for at least 19 years. This document was submitted to the GAO to facilitate its investigation. We hope to have a completed GAO report within the next few months. The plan is to introduce a bill that will remove the total jurisdiction of USWFS over Midway Atoll.
Congressman Dr. John Fleming of Louisiana, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will introduce a bill to create a 75th anniversary Battle of Midway commemorative stamp. The bill is co-sponsored by Congressman John Duncan, former Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation. This procedure is the only alternative we have for the creation of the stamp since the proposal was turned down by the U.S. Stamp Advisory Committee. It is worth noting that, in 1999, Congressman Duncan introduced the bill in the House of Representatives---later signed into law by President Clinton--- that designated Midway Atoll a National Memorial. The IMMF owes Congressman Duncan a debt of gratitude for his support through the years.
Thank you Congressman Duncan and Congressman Fleming!
Harry F. Burroughs III retired from the federal service after having worked 38 years in the House of Representatives. For the past twenty years, he was the Republican Subcommittee Staff Director for the House Natural Resources Committee. During that time he was the lead staffer on all issues dealing with the national Wildlife Refuge System. As Staff Director, he coordinated a number of oversight hearings on the management of the refuge system, including why certain refuges, like Midway Atoll, were closed to the public and whether the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was the proper overseer of certain lands. In fact, his last Congressional hearing, which occurred on November 18, 2014, was entitled “Whether the U SFWS Has Properly Managed the Battle of Midway Memorial.” One of the highlights of his career was meeting Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN (Ret.), member of the IMMF Board, in memoriam, and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Harry has just published his memoir, My Life on Capitol Hill: Five Decades Working in the People’s House in January 2015. Harry has been invaluable to the IMMF through his support and facilitation of our efforts in Congress. Welcome aboard, Harry!
Dr. William Sheldon Dudley, our Chief Historian, has also been appointed to the Active Board of the Foundation. He is the past Director of Naval History for the U.S. Navy Department, having served in that position for nine years. He is also the past Director of the Naval Historical Center (presently called Naval History and Heritage Command), Curator for the Navy and Coordinator of Navy Museums. He has earned degrees from Williams College and Columbia University, attaining a Ph.D. in 1972. Dr. Dudley is the past president of the North American Society for Oceanic History and the Society for History in the Federal Government. Presently, he serves as Chair of the Maritime Committee of the Maryland Historical Society, is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Annapolis Maritime Museum, member of the Maryland Advisory Committee on Archaeology and a consultant to the National Maritime Historical Society. Bill’s expertise in maritime and naval history has been, and will continue to be, a great asset to the Foundation. Welcome aboard, Bill!
Mr. Ryan Wanamaker (www.rcwanamaker.com) is giving a badly-needed facelift to the Foundation’s web site (IMMF-MIDWAY.com). In addition to updated information and format, the revision will provide compatibility with all computer devices, including iPhone and iPad. Ryan graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has expertise in animation, visual effects, and computer graphic design. We’re excited to see the end result, which should be completed in a few months.
Permission for the dedication and erection of the Wake Island monument on the island has been reviewed by GS-13 Wade Gilpin, Chief Installation Manager and sent to the PACAF Regional Support Center Commander for its approval. The plan is to erect and dedicate a monument on Wake Island in December 2016, the 75th anniversary of the battle for Wake Island.
After many months of anticipation, I have received word that my manuscript entitled Pacific Rivalry at the Turning Point is presently being edited by an Assistant Editor at USNA Institute Press. The process usually takes a few months. I look forward to its completion.
Mark S. Gleason is a World War II veteran who served aboard merchant marine ships (“Liberty ships”) during World War II. The Maritime Commission first started to build “Victory ship” class vessels in 1943, which were cargo ships with a clean design and engines that could reach a speed of 17 knots. By 1946, 534 “Victory ships” were launched. The Ship Naming Committee, in order to bring the war closer to the country, named the ships after cities, countries and educational institutions. One of the 150 colleges chosen was Westminster College, a small liberal arts college in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. The college participated in the war effort by educating several thousand Navy V-5 aviation cadets and Army Specialized Training Program soldiers.
The SS Westminster Victory was launched on March 13, 1945 at the Portland Shipbuilding yard in Portland, Washington. Originally launched as a cargo ship, it was converted into a troop ship and made 12 voyages bringing troops home from Europe, as well as taking troops from the mainland to Hawaii, Korea and Japan. In 1947, it was sold as a surplus ship to a Belgian company that in turn sold it to a Chinese firm in 1965. The ship was scrapped in Taiwan in 1973.
A few years ago, several merchant mariners who had served in World War II and attended Westminster College initiated a program to build a model of the Westminster Victory for the college. Funding for the ship was secured and Mr. Gleason wrote a book entitled The Life and Times of the SS Westminster Victory. The .book describes an intimate look at the life and voyages of a typical troopship during the war and describes the procedures used by the Ship Naming Committee to name the Victory ships.
Mark Gleason is proposing to place replicas of other “Victory ships” in their namesake colleges He is looking for donations to accomplish his mission. Please send donations to:
Mark S. Gleason 864 Fairways Drive Oakmont, PA 15139
Information on the book can be obtained by contacting the bookstore at Westminster College at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 724-946-6211.
Chris and I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.