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of Events at Midway
Last Updated 08/17/2008
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July 5, 1859 -
Captain N.C. Brooks of the Hawaiian Bark Gambia discovers the Island. Islands were named "Middlebrook Islands".
August 28, 1867 -
Captain William Reynolds of the USS Lackawanna takes possession of the Island for the United States. Midway becomes the first offshore islands annexed by the U.S. government.
November 16, 1886 -
The schooner General Siegel was shipwrecked at Midway during a storm.
February 3, 1888 -
The British bark Wandering Minstrel was shipwrecked in Wells Harbor, during a storm.
January 20, 1903 -
Due to recurring complaints of Japanese squatters and poachers, President Theodore Roosevelt places the island under the control of the Navy.
April 29, 1903 -
Commercial Pacific Cable Company's first contingent arrives on island.
June 3, 1903 -
U.S. Navy ejects Japanese poachers and squatters and appoints Commercial Pacific Cable Company as island custodians.
July 4, 1903 -
The first "around the world" cable message was sent via Midway by President Roosevelt. Midway was a relay station. The message took nine minutes.
May 1904 -
U.S. Marine Corps garrison of 20 Marines was established on Midway Island.
May 13, 1906 -
Dr. Miller, USN, died at 5:20am on Midway and was buried there. This was the first Naval death recorded at Midway.
Marine detachment was ordered away from Midway Island.
U.S. Navy commenced using Midway Islands as a rendezvous for naval vessels on the East-West Pacific runs. Washington Naval Treaty (1921 -22) forbade fortifying Midway through commercial enterprises were authorized.
Cable Company blasted an entrance for an undersea cable, between Sand and Eastern Islands, in the south reef.
Midway Islands were investigated by Commander Rodgers of the USS Pelican, as seaplane base. Later, in the same year, Midway Islands were used as a rendezvous by the USS Seagull and eight submarines.
Japan denounced the Washington Treaty (1922). Naval armament race was on.
April 12, 1935 -
Pan American World Airways ship, North Haven, arrived at Midway to set up a PAA airbase. Weekly Trans-Pacific Flying Clipper Seaplane service followed soon after.
May 1935 -
Fleet maneuvers conducted off Midway. Advance base established and amphibious operations were carried out.
May 19, 1938 -
USS Oglala and USS Beaver arrived at Midway with men and materials, from the Hawaiian Dredging Company, to dredge a channel for seagoing ships.
March 1940 -
Private contractors start construction of the runways on Eastern and other infrastructure on Sand Island in preparation for possible hostilities.
March 4, 1940 -
USS Swan, a mine sweeper type aircraft tender, entered Midway lagoon by the new channel in the south reef.
March 27, 1940 -
USS Sirius arrived with men and materials for the construction of a Naval Air Station. Arrival of Lt. D.B. Ventries, USN, Naval representative in charge of the project, automatically relieved Cable Company superintendent of Naval custody of Midway Islands.
June 1940 -
Marine Garrison returned to Midway Islands. By February of 1941 the garrison, under command of Lt. Col. Pepper, was 850 strong.
July 18, 1940 -
Arrival of part of U.S. Fleet for a surprise visit brought the attention of splendid results of the Cable Company's planting program over about 1/6 of Sand Island. Under the Pacific Naval Air Base program, Midway began to fulfill its destiny as a strategic base in the Pacific.
August 1, 1941 -
U.S. Naval Air Station Midway is commissioned, under the command of Commander Cyrill T. Simard, U.S. Navy.
November 9, 1941 -
Pan American Clipper arrived, in-route to Washington, with Japanese Ambassador Kurusu and his secretary Yuki. Departed November 12 for the Peace Conference.
December 7, 1941 - 6:30am -
Received notice of commencement of Japanese-U.S. hostilities.
December 7, 1941 -
Midway Island was bombarded by the "Midway Neutralization Unit," a Japanese raiding force of (estimated) two cruisers and two destroyers. Return fire, from defense batteries, struck the Japanese's ships and forced retirement under a smoke screen. Some damage to facilities on Midway Island was sustained and the following were killed by the Japanese's bombardment:
1st. Lt. George H. Cannon, USMC
Ens. Donald J. Kraker, USNR
Pfc. Elmer R. Morrell, USMC
F 2/C Ralph E. Tuttle, USN
1st. Lt. George H. Cannon, USMC, became the war's first Marine Corps recipient of the Medal of Honor.
The Midway seaplane hangar and the hospital were hit and burned. The hospital burned completely, the seaplane hangar was badly damaged. Reinforcements for Midway were rushed from Hawaii.
June 3-6, 1942 -
Japanese launched an attack against Midway in the hope of engaging and destroying the U.S. aircraft carriers and occupying Midway. U.S. Fleet aircraft ambushes the Japanese Fleet north of the islands inflicting heavy losses (four aircraft carriers), thus turning the tide of the War in the Pacific.
July 15, 1942 -
The submarine base at Midway is commissioned. The base was of great strategic importance in the entire Pacific arena and of operational importance to submarines based at Pearl Harbor.
July 29, 1942 -
Naval Operating Base, Midway Islands, was established, by order of the Secretary of the Navy.
January 1, 1943 -
Sand Island landing field, composing of three landing strips, was completed and ready for use.
August 1944 -
Extensions to Sand Islands landing strips were completed, and large landplane activity shifted from Eastern Island to Sand Island.
September 16, 1944 -
A sand stabilization program was set up. Planting of shrubs, grass and trees commenced.
October 1944 -
Naval Air Transport Service was set up on Sand Island.
During this period, air activity on Eastern Island began to slow down and a gradual shift to Sand Island took place. During the period, subsequent to July 29, 1942, the Submarine Base came to its peak of utility.
August 14, 1945 -
October 7, 1945 -
Midway began demobilization. Buildings were nailed up. Eastern Island was abandoned.
August 13, 1946 -
The first male child was born on Midway Island. Richard Thor Holmes was born to Mrs. Elaine D. Holmes and Lt. Col. M.D. Holmes, USMC, the Commanding Officer of the Marine Barracks, Midway Island.
September 17, 1946 -
The first female child was born on Midway Island. Jennifer Kathleen Ayers was born to Mrs. Majorie Mae Ayers and Aviation Chief Ordanceman Gordan K. Ayers, attached to the U.S. Naval Air Station, Midway Island.
May 29, 1947 -
The first child, in recorded history, graduated from Elementary School on Midway Island, her name was Nellie Leo Ganci.
Midway Island reactivated in support of Korean airlift operations.
November 4, 1952 -
Midway is hit by tsunami.
August 28, 1955 -
The first twins, in recorded history, were born on Midway Island. Parents were Mrs. Polly Worsley and John Worsley.
A major building program was begun to create a Pacific airborne early warning base.
October 7, 1957 -
The Midway Theater was reopened, after being reconditioned by MCB #9.
May 1958 -
Hawaiian Dredging Company completes new housing and barracks on Sand Island.
May 14, 1958 -
Ceremonies were held for the opening of the new Midway Chapel.
July 1958 -
The first flight from Midway, of the Airborne Early Warning Carrier, was made this month.
March 1959 -
Midway's first TV station, KEIK-TV, started broadcasting. It was the first of its kind in the world. Called STAR (simplified television and radio), a one-man operated station.
June 3, 1959 -
Douglas Carson and Howard Sakahara were the first students to graduate from Midway George Cannon High School.
July 4, 1959 -
The new 49-star flag was raised over Midway for the first time. Midway celebrated it's 100th year of discovery.
June 1960 -
First Fish and Wildlife Conservation Management Program implemented.
Midway plays host to squadrons of Super Constellation "Willy Victor" radar aircraft and crews that played the role of the eyes and ears of the Nation forming the Distant Early Warning line in coordination with radar picket ships.
January 13, 1969 -
Naval Facility Midway (NAVFAC) was commissioned. The NAVFAC was used in support of the Navy's Undersea Sound Surveillance Program - SOSUS.
June 8, 1969 -
U.S. President Nixon and South Vietnam President Thieu conduct secret meetings in the Midway House - the Commanding Officer's residence.
May 1970 -
Last flight of the Airborne Early Warning Squadron.
July 1970 -
Eastern Island vacated by all personnel and designated a wildlife habitat.
October 1978 -
Naval Air Station Midway re-designated Naval Air Facility and dependents begin to depart. As many as 4,000 personnel and dependents were stationed here at the height of the Cold and Vietnam Wars.
March 1982 -
Base Services, Inc. is awarded a Base Operating Support (BOS) contract and assumes all operations and maintenance of the facility.
September 30, 1983 -
NAVFAC Midway was decommissioned, after 24 years of service, in support of the Navy's Undersea Sound Surveillance Program - SOSUS.
November 23, 1985 -
Pan American B747 "China Clipper II" visits Midway to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first China Clipper flight.
April 22, 1988 -
Midway Island is designated as an Overlay National Wildlife Refuge.
April 25, 1991 -
Undersea cable services terminated. A new Satellite Earth Station was activated for telephone and data communications.
September 30, 1993 -
Naval Air Facility Midway is "operationally closed" and the Navy initiates plans for environmental cleanup of the Island.
October 31, 1996 -
President Clinton signs Executive Order 13022 transferring jurisdiction of Midway Island from the U.S. Navy to the Department of the Interior. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages Midway Island National Wildlife Refuge to maintain and restore its natural biological diversity, provide conservation and management of the wildlife and habitats within refuge boundaries, provide opportunities for scientific research and environmental education, maintain the Island's historical significance, and provide compatible wildlife-oriented activities to the visiting public.
Midway Phoenix Corporation enters a Cooperative Agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service to open Midway Island to for public visitation.
Midway opened for public visitation.
April 3, 1997 -
Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton, presents the "key to Midway" (in the shape of a Laysan Albatross) to Interior Assistant Secretary Bonnie Cohen. In his speech, Secretary Dalton celebrated "trading guns for goonies" on Midway Island.
June 30, 1997 -
The last U.S. Navy personnel stationed on Midway Island depart.
March 19, 1998 -
Midway Phoenix contracts Aloha Airlines to fly chartered 737 flights from Oahu to Midway for visitor and logistical support. First flight was scheduled for April 29, 1998.
June 4, 1999 -
Navy Admiral Jay L. Johnson declares June 4, 1942 (The Battle of Midway) as one of the two most significant dates in Naval history, stating this date will henceforth be celebrated annually as the centerpiece of our heritage.
January 2002 -
Midway closed to visitors.
March 6, 2002 -
Midway Phoenix Corporation and the Fish and Wildlife Service jointly agreed to terminate their cooperative agreement.
May 1, 2002 -
Midway Phoenix Corporation make their final exit from the island, citing cooperation issues with the Fish and Wildlife Service.
May 1, 2002 -
GEO-Engineers took over as a temporary cooperator to maintain continuity of operations on the island
May 6, 2002 -
Assistant Secretary of Interior, Craig Manson, states "The Department of the Interior is fully committed to restoring public access to Midway".
June 4-7, 2002 -
Veterans commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the historic Battle of Midway on Sand Island.
February 2003 -
75,000 to 100,000 Gallons of Fuel are spilled from the Midway Fuel Farm.
May 7, 2003 -
A contract was awarded to Chugach, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chugach Alaska Corporation, to provide operations and maintenance services at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
March 1, 2007 -
First Lady, Laura Bush, visits Midway Island.
December 28, 2007 -
Midway public access still closed.
Current Midway News Links
Last Updated 08/17/2008