Congressman John Duncan (TN) has completed the draft discussion bill which provides for the administration and operation of the infrastructure and the public visitation program on Midway Atoll by the private sector at minimal cost to the Federal Government by terminating the exclusive jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the Midway Atoll, and for other purposes.
The bill states that:
“There shall be a Midway Trust established to oversee the operations of Midway Atoll and all policies and decisions of the Trust shall be subject to the approval of the newly formed Board of Governors which shall consist of:
The private sector shall operate and maintain the infrastructure and the public visitation program on a for-profit basis at minimal cost to the Government. The private sector entity is the main vehicle for making Midway Atoll solvent and profitable.
The Board of Governors shall ensure that Midway Atoll continues to operate as an emergency landing field for trans-Pacific flights.
An annual financial and operational report shall be made by the Board of Governors to the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.”
Having this “draft discussion bill” completed is the first step in the process of passing a bill. The draft will be used to obtain support for this very important bill both in the House and Senate.
On June 23, 2017, James Noone and I met with Aurelia Skipwith, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and Thomas Garcia, her administrative aide, at the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C. The main issues discussed at the meeting were:
It was agreed by all that a second meeting would occur and that is scheduled for mid-October and will be attended by Jim Noone, Harry Burroughs and myself and Aurelia Skipwith, Greg Sheehan, Acting Deputy Director of the USFWS and Thomas Garcia. Follow up of this meeting will be published in the next issue of the newsletter.
In a previous newsletter, I reported that the foregoing bill did not pass Congress. This was incorrect. I recently received news that the bill was passed. Section 427of the House FY17 Appropriation Bill states: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to destroy any buildings or structures on Midway Island that have been recommended by the United States Navy for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places” (54U.S.C. 302101). This act prohibits the USFWS from using appropriation funding to demolish any building during 2017. However, the Agency has utilized funding from the EPA to finance the continuing destruction of historic properties on Midway. The most recent destruction is the ongoing demolition of the Terminal Building (1943), included by the Navy as a Category II structure associated with broad patterns of Navy base development in World War II and development of the airstrip on Sand Island. This issue is addressed in our current draft bill.
A brief biography of Glenn Miller is given here for the younger readers of the newsletter. Glenn Miller was a musician, arranger, composer and big band leader in the swing era of the 1930s and 1940s whose music inspired and brought happiness to millions of people the world over. Glenn Miller was looking for and created a distinctive sound for his band by combining a clarinet with four saxophones in harmony. As an example, his famous theme song Moonlight Serenade beautifully brings this sound to life.
Major Glenn Miller was a legendary band leader of the 1930s and 1940's. His theme song "Moonlight Serenade" is well known to those of his era and beyond. Miller was a member of the U.S. Army Air Force and had been tasked with entertaining the troops in England in the summer of 1944. On December 15, 1944, while en route from Twinwood Farm in England to Paris, his plane (UC-64 Norseman) disappeared over the English Channel. The weather was extremely foggs and he was never seen or heard from again. It has been assumed that his plane went down in the channel although this has never been conclusively proven.
During World War II, Glenn Miller was a Major in the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC), having volunteered to play for the service to build up troop morale. In 1944, while his band and he were stationed north of London, a radio Christmas show was scheduled in Paris. Glenn decided to leave one day before his band so that he could make the arrangements necessary for the radio Christmas show. On the morning of December 15, 1944, he left for Paris in a small single-engine UC-C Norseman. The weather was cold and very foggy. He was accompanied by pilot John Morgan and his friend Lieutenant Colonel Norman Baessell. The plane disappeared during its flight and its occupants were never seen or heard from again.
For years, his aircraft has remained undiscovered. The Foundation has formed the Glenn Miller Search Committee to search for and discover his plane.
The Glenn Miller Search Committee consists of:
The estimated cost of the expedition is between $250,000 and $500,000. The IMMF will form a special fund-raising page that will be linked to our main web site. The current Glenn Miller Orchestra has been contacted and they have an interest in doing a fund-raiser in Sarasota, Florida area to facilitate the project. In addition, we will be contracting with a cable network to produce a documentary film of the mission. Stay tuned and don’t touch that dial!!
My book Victory At Midway: The Battle That Changed The Course Of World War II is now scheduled to be released by McFarland Publishing on February 1, 2018.
Chris and I send our best wishes.