The International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF) is proud to announce that during the week of June 4, 2002, the Foundation will host, in association with the U.S. Navy, the state of Hawaii and the National Park Service (NPS), a series of events in Pearl Harbor commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. This week will be unique in that its focus of commemoration will cover the period immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor through the Battle of Midway. It is the Foundation's intent to honor those World War II veterans who saw our country through its darkest hours in the war in the Pacific --- December 7, 1941 to June 4, 1942. This early period includes the air raids conducted against Japanese- held islands, the Doolittle raid, the falls of Bataan and Corregidor, and the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. In accordance with the foregoing, the IMMF will be inviting the governments and citizens of Australia and the Phillipine Islands to attend all the events.
The tentative schedule for the week is as follows: The commemorative ceremonies will begin with a welcoming cocktail reception at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel at 1900 hours on Friday night May 31, 2002. On Saturday and Sunday June 1-2, 2002, we will host a two day symposium on the U.S. Naval Base in Pearl Harbor. The symposium will cover the aftermath of Pearl Harbor all the way up to and including the Battle of Midway. On Tuesday June 3, the IMMF will host a ceremony in honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway on the USS MISSOURI. One of the highlights of the week's events will be the Sixth Annual Midway Night Dinner, held at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on the evening of Tuesday, June 4.
We hope to make this week the best ever. This expectation is grounded in the knowledge that the IMMF has the full support and cooperation of the United States Navy in Pearl Harbor, the Hawaiian State Government and the NPS. Further details to follow!
***All flight reservations, lodging and ground transportation in Hawaii will be the sole responsibility of those individuals attending. The estimated cost of events will be less than $500.00 and the exact amount will be available after the first of the year. The main headquarters for the IMMF will be at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii.***
On October 1, 2001 the IMMF launched its latest exciting project for eighth graders in the state of Maryland, "The Battle of Midway Essay Contest". Letters of introduction were sent from the Foundation to ninety-one middle school principals in Montgomery County and to schools in Prince Georges County, Maryland. The submission deadline is February 1, 2002, and a ceremony for the winners will take place in June, 2002, in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the essay contest is to preserve the memory of the Battle of Midway and to inspire our youth by the ideals of those who fought in the battle. Next year, the essay contest will be expanded to include Washington, D.C. and Virginia. In 2003 the contest will become a national event for all eighth graders.
It is with a sad heart that I must report that Dick Best passed away on Sunday, October 28, 2001 in Santa Monica, California. For those who did not know Dick, I recommend reading his personal narrative on our website (www.immf-midway.com). Members of the Foundation will continue to work for LCDR Best to receive, posthumously, the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on June 4, 1942. I am sure he touched down gracefully on that one Carrier in the sky. God bless you, Dick. We will all miss you.
The production of the promotional film for the documentary "Against All Odds" is on schedule for completion in early December 2001. The following progress has been made. The script is written and Ambassador William Middendorf (former Secretary of the Navy) has agreed to write the music. A letter of request has been directed to Tom Hanks to be the narrator. Finally, most of the necessary archival film to complete the production has been secured.
The promotional film will be made available to eighth grade essayists to further stimulate their interest in the Battle of Midway. It will also be used to help the Foundation raise the necessary funds to complete the documentary film. Stay tuned!!
"Midway Veteran of the Month" is gaining in popularity.
Rollin Schwirtz (USS HAMMANN) is the latest veteran to have his personal narrative featured on our special "Webpage of Honor" (see page 5 of this newsletter). The following personal narratives will follow: Colonel William R. Lucius, USMC (Ret.) (MAG-22); Lieutenant Charles R. Ware, USN (USS ENTERPRISE); Major J. Douglas Rollow, USMC (Ret.) (VMSB-241); and Ensign William A. Tunstall, USN. All submissions are edited for historical accuracy. ***Any Midway veteran is eligible to tell his story for publication on the Foundation's website.
The website continues to attract international attention. Since the last issue of the newsletter, the IMMF has received e-Mail from people in France, Japan and New Zealand. The webpage is fast becoming a valuable reference for eighth graders participating in the essay contest and for students of history worldwide.
Lt. Charles R. Ware was a Naval Academy graduate who received the Navy Cross for his heroic action at Midway. He was the section leader of the third division of Scouting Squadron Six from the USS ENTERPRISE. On the fateful day of June 4, 1942, Lt. Ware and his gunner ARM1/c Stambaugh, having pressed home their attack on the three Japanese carriers, ran into a wave of Zeros from a fourth carrier --- the HIRYU. The ensuing engagement left their already low fuel supply even lower. Both were assumed to have been lost at sea, and, indeed, were never seen again.
Recently Robert A. Erlandson, formerly a reporter of the Baltimore Sun, contacted me about their story. Bob had previously written an article for the Sun about the transport of the Midway Atoll Memorial Monument from Martin State Airport in eastern Maryland to Midway Atoll. He informed me of a special memorial service in honor of Lt. Ware and ARM1/c Stambaugh that will be held on June 8, 2002 in Athens, Tennessee. If any members of the Foundation are interested in attending the ceremony, you may contact Mr. Erlandson at (410) 828-1244.
Dr. David C. Mac Enany is the newest member of the Active Board of Trustees of the Foundation. He received a doctorate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. Further details on David will be published in the next issue of the "Midway Sentinel".
For two or three days we roamed and we tossed,
The high seas of treachery, our enemies to boss.
Day in and day out, we sought to destroy
The enemies subs, cruisers, and carriers with joy.
I believe the Foundation is beginning a new era of preserving the values and the memory of the Battle of Midway. Those of you that continue to be interested in the success of the IMMF, I thank you for all of your support.