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75 years ago, on June 4th, 1942, the fate of the Pacific rested on the shoulders of America's Sailors at Midway. Find out how this inspiring story of bravery and sacrifice turned the tide of WWII, and forever changed the course of history.
The days leading up to the Battle of Midway were filled with intense anticipation, planning and activity. The ongoing intelligence breakthroughs and daily communications intelligence (COMINT) briefings gave Navy Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, credible information that he was confident in and willing to act upon. The advance notice provided time to thoughtfully prepare a strategic battle plan and get all ships, aircraft and equipment in place. And with the brave and capable Sailors he trusted ready to carry out the orders and operations, the stage was set for an epic battle and momentous victory.
Below are some highlights of how the battle ultimately played out:
June 2, 1942 – Navy carriers, aircraft, ships and personnel take their positions on and around Midway
June 3, 1942 – Initial sightings of Japanese forces en route to Midway are reported
June 4, 1942 – Japanese planes begin bombing Midway around first light; successive waves of counterattacks by American torpedo planes and bombers are launched; the four Japanese carriers (Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu) are bombed and sunk or sinking by day's end; the Navy carrier USS Yorktown is seriously damaged but does not go down
June 5, 1942 – Remaining elements of the Japanese fleet are pursued westward; salvage work on the now-in-tow USS Yorktown is underway
June 6, 1942 – Navy air attacks conclude; the USS Yorktown, its crew off board but still being towed by Navy fleet forces, is mortally torpedoed by Japanese submarines
June 7, 1942 – Though the USS Yorktown finally succumbs to its damages and is sunk, the battle is an undeniable victory for the Navy and America
From the days of the Continental Navy to the defining Battle of Midway to its enduring presence today, the Navy has always been there for America. See for yourself.CHECK OUT OUR VIRTUAL TIMELINE