Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the turning point in the Pacific theater during World War II.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, enemy forces looked to strike the United States again—setting their sights on the Naval Air Station on Midway Island, roughly halfway between California and East Asia.
Due to a series of victories against the United States, the adversary underestimated American strength and capabilities. Months of codebreaking and intelligence gathered by U.S. Naval decrypt units allowed the Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to intercept enemy messages, convey misinformation that Midway was vulnerable, and prepare a counter attack against the coming assault on Midway.
On June 4, 1942, Americans delivered a devastating blow to the Imperial Japanese Navy. Torpedo Squadrons 8, 6, and 3 made the first wave of attacks on the enemy aircraft carriers. Despite heavy casualties, the American squadrons subjected the carriers to devastating dive-bomber attacks. By the end of the battle, the Americans sank four Japanese fleet carriers—all of which had attacked Pearl Harbor—and one heavy cruiser. The American victory at Midway gave U.S. Armed Forces time to gather strength to emerge triumphantly.
We honor the perseverance of the World War II code breakers that warned us of the attack on Midway, the valor of the squadrons that located and assaulted the enemy fleet, and the heroism of every U.S. Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Soldier who carried us to victory.
The Battle of Midway demonstrated the ingenuity and power of the American forces in the air, on land, and at sea. Seventy-five years later, we celebrate the victory that turned the tide in the Pacific.
We also celebrate and draw inspiration from the reconciliation and mutual respect for freedom and democracy that forged the enduring alliance between the United States and Japan. Once foes, today we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our ally Japan to ensure peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.