NEWPORT, R.I. - The Naval War College will commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Battle of Midway during a ceremony from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Friday, June 4, and recognize two veterans who fought at Midway.
Radioman Francis Fabian, age 94, of Charlestown, R.I., and Fire Controlman Chief Eli Ferguson of South Dartmouth, Mass., will receive honorary awards during the Naval War College’s observance. Notably, Fabian was forced to abandon USS Yorktown twice during the battle. Ferguson served aboard USS Vincennes.
Regarded as the turning point in the Pacific during World
War II, the Battle of Midway took place June 4-7, 1942. Each year the U.S. Navy renews a commitment to appreciate and preserve the nation’s Midway naval history and heritage in part by paying tribute to those World War II veterans who brought the U.S. to victory at the Battle of Midway, especially as their numbers decline.
During the battle, U.S. Navy carrier strike forces, augmented by shore-based bombers and torpedo planes, decisively defeated an Imperial Japanese navy carrier task force. These actions prevented Japanese forces from capturing Midway Island. An important marker in the United States’ naval heritage, the Battle of Midway changed the course of the war in the Pacific within just a few short days.
The victory at Midway was born out of the mettle of American Sailors, Marines, and airmen. They entered this battle with inferior numbers, aircraft, torpedoes, and without substantial backup forces. They compensated for their material shortcomings with courage, discipline, and commitment to mission accomplishment.
The commemoration, attended by Naval War College students, faculty and staff, will include a lecture by Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword: the Untold Story of the Battle of Midway,
a book focusing primarily on the Japanese account of the battle. Parshall’s remarks will center on subordinate servicemen, whose leadership greatly contributed to the victory.
Parshall is a lifelong enthusiast of World War II, and has published work in The Naval War College Review, Proceedings, and World War II magazine. In 1999, Parshall took part in an expedition that found wreckage of the Kaga, a Japanese carrier sunk during the Battle of Midway.
More information, including maps, battle timelines and interviews with Midway veterans, is available on the U.S. Navy’s website at www.navy.mil/midway
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From Naval War College Public Affairs