The USFWS on Midway denied the International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF)’s request to land on Midway’s airstrip on June 4, 2017 for the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Midway. I received the notice from Robert Peyton, Project Leader for the Commemoration Ceremony for the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. The basis of the refusal was to keep the impact to Midway at a minimum and they are limiting the number of people attending to thirty. One to two members of the board members have been invited. The IMMF finds this denial is unreasonable and has taken steps to get this decision reversed. If successful, the IMMF will begin to search for a commercial airliner to fly visitors to Midway.
In fairness to the USFWS, the agency has requested consultation with the Foundation on two historic sites eligible for repair and rehabilitation. The IMMF continues to provide its assistance to USFWS on Midway regarding its historic sites.
The combined Nauticos, NOAA and IMMF mission to discover the sunken Japanese carriers at Midway was unfortunately cancelled due to severe weather in the search area. Nauticos and the IMMF will continue to pursue this mission in the near future. In honor of their efforts to discover the Japanese carriers, the Foundation will be awarding the sterling silver Midway Atoll National Memorial Coin to Dave W. Jourdan, President of Nauticos and Dr. Jim P. Delgado, Director of the Maritime Heritage Program (NOAA) at the Washington, D.C. Annual Midway Night Dinner on June 3, 2016. Dave Jourdan is the keynote speaker for the event.
I recently received a letter from the Department of the Air Force (Pacific Air Forces) that the IMMF and the Friends of Wake Island could not place a National Memorial Wake Island Monument on Wake Island. The basis for this denial is that Wake is an active military installation with overlapping and complex missions with minimal staff available to meet the requirements of the monument. The IMMF and the Friends of Wake are seeking ways to reverse this decision. On February 17, 2016, the Foundation received a vigorous approval from the American Battle Monuments Commission for the granite and marble monument.
The International Midway Memorial Foundation has been added to the official list of prizes awarded at the U.S. Naval Academy during its annual Commissioning Week. The IMMF will present its sterling silver National Midway Atoll Memorial Coin to the winner of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Battle of Midway Essay Contest. This year, the award will be presented during Commissioning Week on May 25, 2016. The Coin was created to honor the legislation passed in 1999 designating the Midway Atoll as a National Memorial.
On March 3, 2016, Alaska Senator Tom Sullivan (Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs) introduced a bill (S.2638) to provide for the issuance of a Battle of Midway 75th anniversary semi-postal stamp. We await the committee’s review and are hopeful for its approval..
Chris and I wish everyone a happy Spring.