Mike, I would just like to send out a big Thank YOU! I have watch you over the past several years with all of your pictures and such. I miss Midway and the way it used to be. I will be contacting my representative to voice my opinion. Kudos to you!!
I had a vacation planned to visit Midway with a dear friend who was a WWII vet just prior to closure. We are all sad to see the power NWS has on so many projects. It seems the entire fish and wild life organization is run by people claiming to be scientist when they are truly ultra conservative environmentalist who believe no people should be allowed to be on earth. Yet these same high ranking individuals drive around in expensive cars. I beleive it was a TRUE mistake to allow the NWS to gain control of Midway Island. How can the governemnt keep allowing the NWS to be funded. This is one organization that needs to be shut down due to the fact they have NO clue what they are doing. Allow the American people to visit historically significant sites such as Midway Island. NWS should get as far away from Midway as they can. Actually they should not ever be allowed to work on any projects assocaited with Americans as they do not understand the environemtal dynamics that go on period anywhere. please return Midway Island to the American people . PLEASE STOP spending MY money funding the NWS as they are the worst organization on earth. WE WANT MIDAWAY BACK in the hands of organization NOT associated with the NWS.>
You, sir, are not just a poop, but a nincompoop! First, by NWS, I think you mean USFWS? Secondly, I guarantee you nobody in the USFWS is driving around in a big expensive car, but that’s a funny thought. Next, and most importantly, let’s assume that USFWS just walks away from places like Midway – That is where your suggestion shows that you know nothing about the issue, or the place. And, yes, there are many valuable scientific studies that you wouldn’t care to hear about, but lucky for America, YOU aren’t the decision maker for the conservation of wild things. Instead, the vast majority of people in this country support the mission of the USFWS. So, money, including yours, will continue to support the treasure that Midway is today, and into the future.
I guess I don’t understand why some of these things are negatives, for example, getting a more modern fire truck. Yes, that costs money, but the potential lives saved are worth it, don’t you think?
How do lowered street signs compromise the safety of humans?
The loss of non-native trees is unfortunate, but is the loss of Kentucky bluegrass that big of a deal?
Three century old cable houses were torn down, but it is my understanding that they were infested with (non-native) termites, caving in on themselves, and that the fourth one was saved at great expense (for which I am grateful).
Maintaining or restoring empty barracks, schools, an LCM (though that would be really neat) has got to be much more difficult than tearing them down.
As a military brat and veteran of the Army, I have felt pangs of sadness when I have learned or seen many former houses, barracks, and buildings I lived in or worked in demolished. Some dated from the 30s, most from the 50s-60s. While historic, they really didn’t serve a good purpose. Nothing lasts forever. Even if/when a visitor program is restored to Midway, it is my understanding that the current facilities are adequate.
I think MPC had an incredibly “optimistic” view of future visitation – it is incredibly expensive to visit Midway. That will always limit the number of visitors. I think those that come, for history or for nature (or both) will not be put off by dated furnishings and the lack of a movie theater.
Just a few thoughts of mine, a very interested outside observer. Obviously I don’t have the same emotional attachments that someone who served there does.
I used to live on midway while stationed there in the navy in 1978-1979 it was a very nice island to live on back than. It would have been nice if it had been taken care of. It’s sad to see the way it has been let go to run down like it has. I have a lot of good memories of midway. My oldest son was just a baby back than.
This is true no only of Midway, but ALL of the smaller Pacific Islands and the Carribean islands of Navassa and Desecheo. And it extends to closures and limitations on public and private land in the good old continental USA. The use of the Endangered Species Act to take control of even private lands, all in the name of the smallest so-called ‘endangered’ specie of toad, minnow, bird, or insect, is totally out of control.
You named it well, John Eaton, when you describe them as being scientists when actually they are bureaucrats exercising POWER and CONTROL.
Worked in the control tower on Midway in 1967-68, a tropical paradise. It was beautiful how wildlife and humans co-existed splendidly. The gooney birds were literally everywhere during their seasonal visit and were respected by their human neighbors. I’ve thought of a return visit for years, but after seeing that Fish & Wildlife have neglected maintenance and using common sense. What they have done to this island is criminal. Sixty years or more of responsible stewardship turned into a ghost town at the cost of the US taxpayers. Criminal…
Looks to me to be a propaganda piece by MPC.
Apparently MPC, or past employees of MPC have created this propaganda piece.
It is absolutely heartbreaking to see this lovely place go to ruin. Watching your video brought tears to my eyes. I, for one, would be more than willing to live in this lovely place and work for keep!
I couldn’t watch the video due to my computer being old, but I agree, it is a shame we can’t visit Midway. I was born there in 1947 and left at age 2 and will never be able to visit the place I was born!!! Now with the possibilility of “global warming” and my age, I will probably never get the chance. In order to know and understand how to protect our earth we and our children need to have access to places like Midway with its wide diversity of birds and sea creatures in order to truly understand what is at risk. Thanks for the chance to voice my opinion!!!
I was fortunate enough to visit Midway twice in 2001. It was a place you just had to have been there to understand the life it offered. MPC did a great job running the island. Everybody knows the government can’t manage anything as well as the private sector and this is proof once again. I’m glad I was able to experience Midway as the paradise it was and resent the fact my kids and grandchildren will never have that opportunity, due to the self serving few that have destroyed a great thing. I will be contacting my representatives to voice my opinion. Thanks to all who made this video.
It is apparent that the FWS plans to convert what was a beautiful tropical island into a desert island as evidenced by what they did on Eastern Island. In my small home town in Kansas, we had a beautiful municipal lake built by the CCC. Occasionally, we would have some vandal youths get drunk and hook onto masonry picnic tables and benches with a winch on their pickups and pull them apart “for fun”. My mother always remarked that she just could not understand what prompted them to commit such acts to destroy useful and attractive facilities being enjoyed by the public. I feel that way about the wanton destructive acts by the FWS. Who are they seeking revenge on?
Thanks for keeping this alive and for being involved and sponsoring a reunion.
All I could do is cry watching the terrible state that Midway is in now. Who is the head of the USFWL that was responsible for the destruction of my former home? I want is his name. He destroyed my memories and dreams. How could anyone let this happen? Who is responsible? I am so angry that the most beautiful island in the world was destroyed by the USFWL!
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Thanks to those who produced the accompanying video. I have loosely followed what was happening to Midway over the last decade or so. However, I did not realize the extremes NWS have gone to in order to destroy all human history concerning Midway. Also, I had not realized how extremely terrible their handling of Midway and its natural inhabitants were. I am not hopeful any or all of the damages inflicted can ever be reversed or prevented in the future. It seems to me that this organization (loosely stated) has managed to do everything in their power to ensure Midway Island will never again be the oasis it once was, for humans or wild animals. Their meddling has enabled invasive weeds to cover most of the islands and that is sad as it prevents the Laison Albatrosses (Gooney Birds) from having sufficient places to nest and reproduce. If there is any way that Midway can be saved from the NWS, I hope it is done quickly. Somehow, there has to be a better plan and the NWS is totally ignorant of what that would be. Being one of the last Naval groups to have served on Midway, I am amazed at how far the Islands have deteriorated. Please, someone in power, get this destruction of one of our most glorious historical locations stopped and make some honest attempt to preserve as much as can be done, of whatever is now left.
This is the kind of disastrous results you get when bureaucrats think they know what they are doing, and are not smart enough to seek guidance from those that do. The FWS destroyed a huge portion of our military history for absolutely no reason. They should be brought to task and tossed out. That being said, they have of course, destroyed most of what was historic in the name of nature, and I suspect, just plain positional arrogance and total disregard for anyone or anything but themselves. The video made me sick, and I suspect it would do the same for most Americans if they saw it. I am certainly going to pass it along to everyone I know, and put the word out in all the media I can. This is not new to me, and happens here in California with the park service as well. They show total disregard for anything historical, looking only to “restore” an area to its “natural condition”. At this rate, we will have nothing left of our history to show our grand and great-grandchildren.
Thank you so much for telling this story. Please post this if you wish, and let me know how myself or others can help preserve what is left.
Fort Bragg, CA
as a marine, I was stationed on midway for about one year from nov.1948 to nov. 1949. somehow this experience has always left an impression on me. I frequently think about midway, and somehow I would like to visit before I die. too bad the dream to visit will be denied to me.
It reminds me of these save the Earth folks that end up destroying things, And when confronted with there own created disaster they say well Our Intentions were well intended… Wow and then they walk away because they feel there good intentions trumps everything else. Leaving the beauty and creating a wonderful tourist type spot was a win, win both ways. But the Tree Huggers destroyed everything. That’s how I see it and how they came to there decisions. Because as small as Midway is you must try at all costs to maintain its original state and yet world around it to keep it functioning.
After seeing a report about a distressed United Airlines plane landing at Midway this evening, I found this website and video while trying to learn more about this historic, beautiful island. I am ashamed of what USFWS has done to the island. How they have disrespected the dead in the cemetery, how they have destroyed historical buildings. This is a place I would have liked to visit, but instead our tax dollars have been used to destroy this place. I am utterly disgusted.
Thank you for this website! Just heard a 777 landed there safely. That is great. I had an assumption no one lives there. I wonder how the pilot communicated the positioning for landing. What a sight it must have been to see the massive 777. Thanks to the people who provided food and thanks to God for saving the lives of these people.
I hope to visit this beautiful Atoll one day!
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I am heart broken at what has happened to Midway! Midway was our refueling stop as we made our way across the Pacific headed for Vietnam and other destinations while in the Navy! We loved the Goony birds and the beauty of such a pristine island as Midway! They should have left it in the hands of the NAVY!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is another example of what happens when such facilities fall into the hands of a government Bureaucracy that knows nothing of Midway’s historical, cultural, and Military value. All Vets should rise up and demand that Midway be restored and operated for a Visitor’s site and Historical monument of this nation’s gallant history and victory at Midway in WWII, Vietnam, etc.
I spent 7th grade on Midway, attending George Cannon School (1965-1966) and watching this brought tears to my eyes seeing what our government has done to my childhood memories. I loved Midway and everybody there had the utmost respect for all of the birds and plants. Seeing the movie theater, the officer’s club, and all the buildings abandoned is sickening. My dad and I used to go over to Eastern Island and hunt for fish balls (glass balls for keep fishing nets afloat). It’s so sad that other people won’t ever get to enjoy what I referred to as ‘heaven’ when I lived there.
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I was one of the fortunate ones to visit Midway, just before eco-terrorists at FWS expelled Midway Phoenix. But upon exiting the Aloha jet and being herded into a reich-like eco-indoctrination classroom, I knew I was in for a bad experience. It was clear FWS didn’t want us there under any circumstances. I flew over with a plane load of military historians, birdwatchers, divers and fishermen, all of who are conservationists. As it turns out, conservationists are the mortal enemy of FWS. FWS is infested with 100% preservationists and their precious “no-humans allowed except us” agenda, ruined the trip. I guess they thought we were all there to have barbeque gooney bird and baked monk seal for dinner. Like 1st graders we were told where to walk, where to swim, where to snorkel, where to breathe etc, etc. The MPC people tried to make it bearable, but virtually no one on the trip got an ounce of respect or welcome from FWS. It is unfortunate for the conservationists that these eco-preservationists have now taken over the whole Hawaiian archipelago, and their tentacles reach further west to Wake and all points in between. I presented a solution to re-opening Midway a few years after MPC left that was widely quoted in the negotiations to re-open visitation to Midway, but the unwelcoming preservationist agenda won out shortly thereafter. Its clear that FWS doesn’t want any of us peons visiting their precious domain. They are happy having under paid Phillipino slaves tend to all of their needs, while they attempt to infest their agenda on the whole Central Pacific. Unfortunately, I am defeated, as I see no way to defeat these radical environmentalists. Conservationism is no longer welcome, only radical preservationism will be tolerated.
I was stationed at Midway Island in the late 70’s, specifically at the NAVFAC at the other end of the island from the base. Midway at that time was a paradise. there was only one motorized vehicle
on the base that I can remember and that was the firetruck at the hanger. We all got around on our bicycles. I thought at the time that Midway was a protected wildlife sanctuary. If what I just saw was what happened to the island, I can only say that what the wildlife service did is criminal! I hope someone was brought to task over this.
I spent two years on midway as part of barrier squadron [ AEW]. my memory of this island was a beautiful place, squared away totally functional. like most navy bases. its hard to believe today’s condition. it should have been a tourist destination.
WV constellations flew in and out on a daily basis for 13 to 14 flights. I enjoyed working on midway and my time off.
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I have visited midway in the 90s when Midway Phoenix had control of the operation there. I was shocked and devastated by what I saw in the film of Midway from then up to the present time. It just makes me wonder how NWS were allowed to destroy all the historical buildings, monuments and artifacts on that once beautifully preserved and well maintained atoll.
You’ve made some really good points there. I looked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.
I was stationed on Midway from May 1969 to June 1970, It did not look like it does now. The FWS has totally wrecked the Island and should be made to Put it back the way it was before they got there grubby paws on it.
They are a bunch of Assholes.
Hi Mike, I don’t know if you remember my name from circa 1999. I exchanged emails with you and Heidi regarding my flight simulator scenery project for PMDY. I am both saddened and furious to find out the current state of Midway island. It has always been one of my life goals to visit Midway and to find the island in such a state of disrepair is nothing short of agonising. Are there any development regarding possible restart of visitor program? Feel free to drop me an email too Mike.
As a Navy brat and veteran, I had the rare opportunity to live on Midway form 1971-1974, went to George Cannon School grades 2-5. The school has been razed by the USFWS along with other historical buildings. I have not seen the video that other bloggers have written about. I don’t think I want to since I know it will make me sick to my stomach. Midway was heaven on earth. Now destroyed. The ironic thing is, when the Navy was there Midway was well maintained. The many birds especially the Layson Albatross, monk seals, turtles were well respected by their human residents. Give Midway back to a contractor like MPC that can maintain a balance between conservation and visitation.
Veteran USN & Former Midway Resident
I spent one year at Midway, from November 1967 to November 1968. Six months with the Sea-Bees and six months in the Harbor Division. With the Sea-bees I ran the portable generators behind the powerhouse and, at times, had to run the larger Worthington units inside. In the Harbor Division I was on a harbor tug, YTM412, with five other shipmates. Although I was single at the time and ~22 years of age, I did not fully grasp the beauty of the Island, like I do now.
Reviewing this presentation almost brought tears to my eyes to see how this island went into such disrepair under the watch of the USFWS. I often thought about visiting Midway but, due to its current condition, I would just as well keep the memories I have, reflecting on its better days with all the photos I took.
The island cannot be brought back to its originality, however I do hope that a contractor can be found to at least restore what was previously created.
What a shameful display of what beaurocrats love to do…sticking their noses into things that were just fine, the way they were. I’m truly thankful that I. got to experience my year on Eastern Island as it was back in the mid sixties. I’ll never forget it
I just found out about Midway Island after watching a show on the History Channel. I am a film producer and my husband is a director. Has anyone ever done a documentary on Midway Island? It is so fascinating and seems to have a goldmine of information on it. It is unfortunate that more people do not know about this island and it’s historical significance. Lots of social change and awareness can be made from documentaries. I would be happy to pitch the idea to my husband who is a Director. With some funding, I think we can help preserve what this island used to stand for and enlighten others as well!
It was 50 years ago that my family lived on Midway. (1964 – 1965). I was a 12 year old boy, my father, CDR Donald D Forsyth was the Administrative Officer. As with most of us, I have warm memories of my time on Midway. Fishballing for Japanese, Korean, and Russian fishballs, I lived for finding those. Swimming and snorkeling for Longusta. Riding my Schwinn Stingray “horse” all over the island. Camping with my Boy Scout troop on Eastern. Playing football at George Canon School. (I played center, it was tag football, and we had 1 game and our team “lettered”. It was an idyllic time for a boy of that age.
Like all of you, I am greatly distressed that the USFWS has basically destroyed the island. It really typifies man’s incompetence. I believe it would have been better to either pull everyone off the island and let nature take its course, or allow a developer to build it into a true resort. At least I have some great memories.
I remember meeting you when Merton & I were on Midway Island. It was Midway Island Naval then and maintained by ITT Base Services (Mert retired Feb 1990). Your update of the island is heartbreaking. What a waste of a beautiful place.
HI Roberta – Sorry for the late reply. I remember you and Merton. Your husband did a great job in keeping everything running. I miss those days at Midway. Things have sure changed now. Thanks for taking time to send along your note. You may also want to look us up on FaceBook. Search for our group by searching for “Midway Island Residents…..”. You’ll find many of our extended Midway family there.
Really and deeply saddened today when I saw Mr. Daak’s video of what has transpired on Midway. Made me a little sick to my stomach to see the Gooney bird that my father carved not only gone from where he had it placed to being in pieces in some storage building. My father was Commander Robert C. Cook and was an oral surgeon. The solid mahogany log washed up on the island and my dad had Navy personnel haul it behind our quarters. We were right next door to the Patricks and Dean Patrick was my best buddy – mom was Billy-Sue. My brother, Cory, and I “helped” my dad carve the Gooney – mostly sweeping up chips and saw dust. We were on Midway for about two years and it was just paradise…now it looks like a garbage dump. I just can’t believe that this has happened to such a magical, historical and amazing place. It’s messed up. I’m pissed off. It never should have been allowed. As my father and mother, Shirley, always instilled us, “It’s not what you have, it’s what you take care of.”
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I was in the US Navy, stationed on Midway in 1958 for 9 months, attached to AIRBARSRON 2 DET. Just recently took the Google Streetview tour of the island. I recognized some areas, but, for the most part, too many buildings and areas were destroyed or allowed to deteriorate beyond recognition. What a shame! One of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific left to ruin. Unfortunately, when certain government agencies are left in charge, this is what happens. I was about 20 years old and some of my fondest memories are of Midway, which I still remember 57 years later.
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I was on Midway 3 days ago….17 July 2015. We diverted in to assist 2 Marine fighters that diverted there for mechanical problems. Spent 24 hours on the Island. The place is as shown in the video, woth the exception of a newly repaired and sealed runway! I would like to know how much that cost the Taxpayer! The Clipper House is now used by the current company as it’s chow hall. The bar sits unused. The seaplane hanger is still rotting away. I rode in the new fire truck. It’s an expensive piece of equipment for the ONE, single, Firefighter stationed there! The medical staff consists of ONE Physicians Assistant who is ER/ Trauma trained. The current Island population is around 40. Half of them being Thai natives. I guess the current contractor is cutting employee costs there. Vast areas of the Island are off limits to humans. Seriously? The Gooney birds have laid eggs there without fear since man has landed and changed the Island. I did enjoy my visit there, but sadly after watching the video, I realized the experience could have been so much more!
Thanks for taking time to share your experiences of your recent Midway stay. It’s most interesting to hear how the military are now being treated there.
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I arrived at Midway on Thanksgiving day 1972 and stayed til Nov. 74 as an Air Traffic Controller, working both the tower and the GCA unit. The day I arrived, I was met by an A school buddy who had me over for Thanksgiving dinner and got me hired to work for a contractor part time. I painted the fuel storage tanks pictured, helped sandblast the hangar, but I refused to paint the water tower, afraid of the height. I did a lot of plumbing in base housing and officers quarters. The air traffic was very slow, averaging about 1-1/2 operation per day. A landing = 1 operation. A take-off = 1 operation. Very slow airport, on average. I did get to talk to Bob Hope as his tour was returning from Nam at the end of the war. He told me a stewardess was sitting on his lap. I bowled at the 4 lane bowling alley. The Petty Officer club’s name was “East of Tomorrow”. I studied marine biology thru the University of Hawaii while I was there. I got my first college “A” in it. I dove for the spiny lobsters and I had a 14′ tiger shark bite the propeller of the 14′ Boston whaler I was in. I was told that the Island was bare without any trees before the Navy took it over, way back whenever. I imagined a treeless Midway and how horrible a place it would be. Your picture of Eastern Island being treeless confirms my thoughts. I know that the Fairy Terns would lay their eggs on an Ironwood branch, with no nest, and the babies could stay up there without falling off. I remember the Canaries, they weren’t natives, but I can’t imagine them doing much harm, but I’m sure there is a preservationist that has plans for them too. Our biggest problem with the Goonies was getting them off the runway before an operation and I remember a 727 taking a bird strike to its nose which knocked a whole in it and grounded the plane there for a week before a new nose came in. The wildlife there could care less of the humans. Just some bill clacking from a Gooney or a bark from a monk seal if you got to close. It was considered sea duty because of the isolation, but I guess you can tell, it was a paradise to me. So many good memories and now a reality of what is. I can only hope that the future of Midway will include some sanity, where the visitors will be tolerated as the Goonies go about their mating dance.
It is just fantastic to see how the Government, unchecked by the citizens and taxpayers, can take something beautiful and completely destroy it. If Midway had been a used for the ‘free spirits” instead of the military it would survive for ever.
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