The stewardship and management of Midway Island by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) since its designation as a Wildlife Refuge in 1996 has faced criticism. Investigations revealed challenges, such as the destruction or planned demolition of numerous historic structures and the closure of the refuge to public visitation. Photos (below) speak for themselves, regarding management and stewardship of Midway.

Demolition by Neglect

“Demolition by Neglect” refers to a situation where a building or structure falls into such disrepair that it becomes irreparable or unsafe, often leading to its eventual demolition.  In the case of Midway, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for historic preservation. 

In September of 2000, lands, and waters of Midway Island NWR were designated as the Battle of Midway National Memorial.  Instead of directing the Midway contractor to maintain buildings of historic significance, the USFWS deliberately de-selected historical buildings from the contractor’s maintenance list.   Buildings that were eligible to be listed on the Register of Historical Sites were left to rot away, until they became an environmental or safety hazard. 

In sharp contrast, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made multiple media claims, stating “There are numerous other historical structures on the island that are eligible to be listed on the Registry of Historic Sites,” We are managing those historic places as if they were on the register.”

After not being maintained, historical buildings are then eligible for demolition by CERCLA Superfund money.  By not maintaining historical buildings on the island, the buildings eventually qualify for demolition, without tapping into the USFWS local budget.  The outcome is that millions upon millions of dollars are spent from the CERCLA Superfund (U.S. Taxpayers) to demolish historical buildings.  These same buildings could have been maintained and saved for millions upon millions less.

11/20/2014 – Closing Comments – USFWS Oversight Hearig – Congressman Fleming, USFWS Oversight Committee Chairman – “The FWS has a failing grade for achieving public visitation to Midway and for allowing Midway’s historic structures to deteriorate. It was a mistake to make Midway Islands a Wildlife Refuge.” He went on to say that the USFWS has no interest, expertise or desire in the National Memorial.

Documents –

Midway News Articles –

Midway Quotes –

On June 4, 2012, the USFWS handed out a brochure during Battle of Midway Ceremony.  Within that brochure, they stated –
“Elsewhere on Midway Atoll, the Fish and Wildlife Service is continuing to implement the approved plans to rehabilitate, stabilize, maintain or mothball historic properties.”
The following photos speak for themselves.  There’s not a single historic building or structure on Sand or Eastern Island that has been rehabilitated, stabilized, maintained or mothballed (except for the houses they live in).

Within the same brochure, the USFWS has stated they will not maintain buildings they do not USE, regardless of Historic Significance.

First a structure is totally ignored of any maintenance – until it becomes a Safety or Environmental Hazard – then funding is authorized via the CERCLA Superfund Program for demolition – regardless of Historic Significance.

Unhappy With Midway Management?
Are You Concerned About Midway’s Future?

Click Here To Find Your Local Reps  

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Blow the Whistle – Please use this link to contact the Chairman for Fraud and Abuse in your agency or other organization. Any personal information you provide will be kept in strict confidence.

Photos (below) offer examples of Midway Stewardship, after year 2002, while directly managed by the Wildlife Service.

Iconic Gooney Statue
Removed for Repair –
Never Replaced

This Gooney Statue was 11-foot tall – Hand-carved from a 30-foot Mahogany Log, by Dentist Lt Commander Robert C. Cook – Completed in 1973.

Summer 2005
FOMA Newsletter Reported
“Gooney is receiving needed repairs”

June 4, 2012
FWS reported the statue is being rebuilt but stated it would not be ready for the 2012 Battle of Midway Ceremony.

2014 – Statue cannot be repaired and was taken to the dump.

The iconic gooney statue was never replaced.

The SKI Warehouse

SKI Warehouse
October – 2012

Photo Credit – Google Earth

The SKI Warehouse, Building #293, was demolished without proper protocol, as required by Public Law.  It was Demolished in October of 2012.

Midway Golf Carts

After MPC Departed The Island, in 2002, Many Golf Carts Were Taken
To The Dump

These Working
Golf Carts Could
Have Continued
To Support an
Visitor Program.

Dozens of golf carts were in good condition, yet taken to the dump. These carts could have been used to support a Visitor Program.

Midway’s First Cellular Phone System

Midway Cellular
Phone System
Removed Soon
After MPC
Made an Exit from The Island

Midway Phoenix Corp. installed the island’s first Cellular Phone System. It was a source of revenue, which helped toward paying island expenses. Soon after MPC made an exit from the island, in 2002, the FWS dismantled the Cellular Phone System and took it to the dump.

Midway Fire Truck

It was reported that the Midway Fire Truck was totally demolished, after FWS employees took it for a joy ride.

The Midway Fire Truck was transported to a Honolulu Scrapyard. A New Fire Truck was purchased at Tax Payer Expense.

Fire Truck being loaded onto a barge for transport to a scrapyard on Oahu.

Historic Cable Buildings

4 of 5 Historic Cable Houses – Demolished – Year 2013

GAO Report – June 2, 2016 – Stated – “Cable Houses – Eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Cable House # 643
Partially Restored.
4 of 5 Cable Houses
Were Demolished

Year 2013

Historic Cable Buildings
In August of 2013

Photo Credit – NW Demolition

The Cable Buildings were built by the Commercial Pacific Cable Company in 1903, for the employees who operated the relay stations for the first trans-Pacific telegraph line. They are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said that the buildings are not in use and cannot be restored.”  One of Five Cable Station Structures Was Partially Restored.  The other four structures were demolished without required consultation and without following Public Law.

Historic Marine Barracks

Both Historic
Marine Barracks
Year 2013

Photo Credit – NW Demolition

The Historic Marine Barracks were demolished without following proper
protocol, as required by Public Law.

Here’s a link to additional photos of the Historic Marine Barracks Demolition.

The Midway Fuel Farm

In February 2003
a 100,000 Gallon Fuel Spill
Cost About
$4.5 Million
to Clean-up

Click Here to read about the Fuel Spill

At a 2014 Oversight Hearing, Committee Chairman-Fleming requested the USFWS pause 10 Years with plans to demolish the Fuel Farm at Midway – Instead, it was demolished in September of 2015, as scheduled.

Fuel Farm
September 2015

The Fuel Farm was key to an Affordable Visitor Program.
The Fuel Farm was demolished without consultation, as required by Public Law 106-113 and against the request of Chairman Fleming at a 2014 Congressional Hearing.

Historic Marine Barracks
Demolished – 2013

September 2013 –  Historic Marine Barracks (buildings #578 and #579) were demolished by FWS, as scheduled, without notification to or consultation, as required by Public Law 106-113. The cost of demolition and remediation was $2.7 million. The Marine Barracks were eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

AT&T / Transpacific Cable Station

The AT&T / Transpacific
Cable Station –

Year 2016.

AT&T Cable Station
After 2 Decades
of Not Being Maintained

Photo Credit – NW Demolition

AT&T Cable Station

Year 2016.

Photo Credit – NW Demolition

The AT&T Cable Station and the adjacent metal building were demolished in year 2016.

The Midway Galley

GAO Report – June 2, 2016 – Galley Now Scheduled For Demolition
The galley was constructed in 1957 as part of the buildup of Midway Atoll’s naval air station during the Cold War. The building was in use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until 2004. Agency officials said that the building is not in use and that the agency plans to demolish the building.

*The Galley was used to serve meals to all island employees and Midway Visitors.

Midway Galley
Year of Demolition
Is Unknown

Inside The
Midway Galley – Prior to Being

The Midway Galley –

Year of Demolition
Is Unknown

Photo Credit – GAO Auditors

Inside The Main Galley –
Demolished –

Year of Demolition
Is Unknown.

Photo Credit – GAO Auditors – April 2015

Inside The
Galley Kitchen –

Year if Demolition
Is Unknown

Photo Credit – GAO Auditors – April 2015

Google Satellite View of The Galley, BEQ-Charlie and BEQ-Delta –
First Noticed As Being
In 2023

Photo Credit -Google Earth

*The Midway Galley was first noticed as being demolished in 2023, via Google Satellite views.

The USFWS restricts residents from sending current photos off-island for public viewing. Island residents are warned they could lose their jobs and be sent home, if they violate this rule.

The Midway Station Theater

The theater was designed by the architect Albert Kahn and constructed before the Battle of Midway during World War II. It is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said that the theater is NOT IN USE. Six murals were removed from the theater and sent to the Pacific Aviation Museum for preservation and display.

The Station Theater is Not Being Maintained.

This photo offers an example of how the FWS directed their contractors to cover the grass with sand.

Inside The
Station Theater

Year 2015
With Large Hole
In The Roof –
Building Not
Being Maintained

Photo Credit – GAO Auditors – April 2015

Inside The
Station Theater –
No Longer Being

Photo Credit – GAO Auditors – April 2015

Google Satellite View Confirms Maintenance NOT Being Performed for The Station Theater – Roof With Rafters Clearly Visible.

Photo Credit – Google Earth

This Google Satellite View, captured in year 2023, showing a huge portion of the roof totally gone, with rafters exposed. The FWS has not maintained the Station Theater for 20+ years. The Station Theater was used to support the Visitor’s Program. On rainy days visitors could watch historic movies in the theater. Every evening, the theater offered free movies.

Inside The Station Theater – April 2015

This photo offers an example
of How FWS is Maintaining
The Station Theater

Photo Taken
April 2015

Photo Credit – GAO Auditors

The Theater Murals Were Moved To Ford Island

Historic Murals Were Removed
From The Station Theater and Taken

to Ford Island.

The Historic Murals were removed from Midway, without following protocol and without consultation with the IMMF, as required by Public Law.


Possibly Demolished
in year 2019

Photo credit – Forest and Kim Starr / Starr Environmentals

BOQ-Bravo was used to house Midway employees and visitors.
The FWS restricts residents of the island from sending current photos that show the status of current buildings/structures.



Demolition Date


Demolished –
Demolition Date

BEQ-Charlie was used to house island employees.
BEQ-Charlie was first noticed as being demolished via Google Satellite views.
The FWS restricts residents of the island from sending current photos that show the status of current buildings/structures.

Google Satellite View
Showing The Galley,
BEQ-Charlie and
BEQ-Delta –
Demolished –
Demolition Date Unknown

Photo Credit – Google Earth

*The Midway Galley and Barracks, on each side of the Galley, were first noticed as being demolished in 2023, via Google Satellite views.


is The Last Standing

The third floor of BOQ-Charlie has been abandoned.  Pieces from the ceiling are falling onto the beds and floor. When it rains, water runs out of the light sockets. Yet another example of poor maintenance. BOQ-Charlie was used to house visitors, when the Visitor Program was still open.

NAF Hangar

NAF Hangar –
Gutted and
Scheduled For

The NAF Hangar was built in 1957. It was last used in year 2002 by MPC for multiple functions. This building has not been maintained since 2002. The USFWS claim this building was NOT IN USE, yet it was being used as a storage facility.

Click Here to view recent photos of the Midway NAF Hangar being prepped for demolition by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Dive and Fish Hut Buildings

Dive Hut and
Fish Hut


The former Clinic is now used as Office Space for the Chugach Contractor and only partially used as a Clinic.


Front Sign
Showing how FWS painted over artwork
that was intended to display many Midway feature attractions for visitors.

Another example
of Historic Preservation by FWS at Midway.

This Navy Rope Display has been ignored for the past 20+ years.

2-Story Homes – Rehabilitated

Officer Housing –
Eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places

FWS collected $2.84 million from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to Rehabilitate 2-story homes and to add solar water heating.

2-Story Homes
Rehabilitated –
Year 2010

Photo Credit – GAO Auditors, April 2015

The FWS has not managed to seek grant potential Grant Money for other Midway buildings of Historical Significance on Midway.

Midway Transmitter Building

Transmitter Building
is Scheduled For

In recent decades, the Transmitter Building served as a safe storage building for HazMat material.

Midway Trees

FWS Killed Ironwood Trees Claiming Them As Non-indigenous to the island.

This Photo
Speaks for Itself –
offering an example of the need for trees.

All Trees Were Killed On Eastern Island. All of Eastern Island was flattened by direction of the FWS.

Midway’s Ham Radio Room – KH4

Midway Phoenix Corp Expanded The Ham Radio Room to
Ham Radio Visitors

Several pieces of Ham Radio equipment were donated by Ham Operators who visited Midway when the Visitor Program was open. After the Visitor Program was closed, in year 2002, FWS confiscated the equipment for their own use.

Letters of Appreciation
Were Provided to
Donators of
Ham Radio Equipment

Letters of Appreciation for Ham Radio Equipment Donors were ripped from the walls of the Ham Radio Room.

Tug Boats

YTB – Yard Tug Boats
Once Used For MediVacs and Assisting Ships into The Harbor –
Disposed of by FWS

FWS opted to dispose of the Tug Boats, rather than maintain them for future needs with assisting supply ship entering the harbor. The Tug Boats were never replaced.

LCM – Landing Craft Mechanized

The FWS Transported
the LCM to a
Scrapyard on Oahu –
After Closing
The Visitor’s Program

This LCM Boat was used to transport Midway Visitors to Eastern Island, and other Historic Locations. After FWS closed the Visitor’s Program, it was taken to an Oahu Scrapyard and not replaced.

Midway Water Tower

Midway Water Tower
Year 2017

The Midway Water Tower was the only gravity fed source for water. It also served as a navigation beacon for ships at sea and for aircraft.
Click here to see Video Demolition

Historic Comm Center

This Historic Comm Center Building Has Not Been Maintained for more than
20+ Years.

This Historic Building has not been maintained for more than 20+ years and offers another example of ‘Demolition by Neglect’. This building is not included within any scheduled maintenance program. The USFWS has stated they will NOT maintain buildings they do not use, regardless of their Historic Significance.


Historic SAR Seaplane Hangar

Eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places
The seaplane hangar was designed by the architect Albert Kahn and constructed in 1941. This building was bombed during both the December 7, 1941, and June 4, 1942, attacks on Midway and housed the seaplanes that spotted the Japanese attack during the Battle of Midway. The FWS stated the building is used for equipment storage.  In 2011 the FWS spent $193,000 to collect estimates to repair the Seaplane Hangar. The project was halted due to the high cost of the project.  The USFWS stated they will only maintain building they can use.  This Historic Building was being used by the USFWS, yet it is not being maintained.

One of Midway’s
Most Historic Buildings –
The SAR Seaplane Hangar

Photo Credit – Unknown

When a Door Required Repairs –
It Was Ripped
Off its Hinges With
Heavy Equipment.

Photo Credit – NW Demolition

The Historic
SAR Seaplane
Collapsed During
A Storm on
January 13, 2022.

Photo Credit – Midway USFWS

This was one of the most Historically Significant Buildings on the island, yet it was NOT included within any scheduled maintenance program for the past 20+ years.

The SAR Seaplane Hangar collapsed during a storm, on January 13, 2022.

Unhappy With Midway Management?
Are You Concerned About Midway’s Future?
Make Your Voice Count – 

Click Here To Find Your Local Reps

Click Here To Find Your Senators

Click Here To Contact The President

Blow the Whistle – Please use this link to contact the Chairman for fraud and abuse in your agency or other organization. Any personal information you provide will be kept in strict confidence.

First a structure is totally ignored of any maintenance – until it becomes a Safety or Environmental Hazard – then funding is authorized for demolition via the CERCLA Superfund Program – regardless of Historic Significance.

The FWS has stated they will NOT maintain buildings they do not use, regardless of their Historic Significance.

23 thoughts on “Stewardship

  1. I was stationed on Midway Island in ’87-’88. Our group of Seabees built the planters and benches and did the tile work at the main hangar. I rebuilt the “NAF Midway Island” sign that was supported by two anchors at the reception area. We also built a pre-engineered building. We put up a security fence around the fuel tanks. Our offices were in the sea plane hangar. It was an amazing place to see and be part of history. And now to see hardly a building standing, is just heartbreaking. I believe that FWS should be held accountable. Withhold their funding or some other measure.

  2. I remember you buddy. I was there from75-77. Worked at airops chief mcmakin lt whipple and billideaux Jim marek. I’ve been looking for years to catch up with anyone that we were stationed with. Contact me friend.

  3. I was stationed at Midway 1977-78 in the SAR unit. Amazing place I will never forget. Sad to see it like this.

  4. All US historical military sites should be preserved for future generations to enjoy. You can always tell when a military site has been turn over to non-military jurisdiction, it falls into a sad state of disrepair. As a diver traveled to many sites in the Pacific and Asia, those areas still under military or form of conservatorship of land, underwater sites, and historic buildings are most often is pristine condition. When the FWS, green peace, WWF, Sierra Club, and other radical environmentalists are given over the oversight, thats when these sites are left for demolition. Look what we are going through now, the current administration is all being lead by these people set out to destroy,

  5. I took a walking tour of Fort Scott in Eastern Kansas a few days ago. A well kept western fort dating back to 1846. Many buildings are still in great shape and being maintained. Too bad Midway has been destroyed by neglect of the FWS. I was stationed on Sand Island during 1965 to early 66. Passed through twice on my way to Vietnam in 69, 72/73. Don’t think I want to visit again, would be a great disappointment I’m sure. Those of you that want to go back, I hope you get your wishes…

  6. Thank you for the pictures. I feel like my past was ripped from my soul. I lived there for all of my teen years and have many memories of Midway and Eastern. Almost all of my memories are of the place and the people, very few are of the wildlife.

  7. I have been with this site a long while now. I still cannot understand how so many rulings and laws can be broken by uncaring individuals and organizations, but never any retribution’s for those atrocities. Midway, the whole atoll, is supposed to be protected, including historical buildings. The wildlife will always persevere no matter what, and it must not be ignored. But to ignore directives concerning protected sites is criminal. The FWS certainly owns a displaced loyalty, because they have none for the USA and her history. Beyond that, our governmental leadership has zero culpability when following and defending their very own rules. I hope more level heads prevail and the Midway Memorial and all the wildlife can be managed together, properly, for historical reasons for as long as the island is above water. How that occurs is, unfortunately, dependent upon the very same governmental organizations that have ignored their responsibilities for so long now that history in the middle of the Pacific may be completely lost, not maintained. Shame on them all.
    Larry Pilkinton, ATNAN 1964-1965 on Midway with AEWBARRONPAC.

  8. An absolute travesty! I was there in 2001 for a week of diving and the place was in magnificent shape. It’s hard to fathom any agency would allow this to happen given the historical and environmental importance of the atoll. I wonder how many millions will be wasted cleaning the place up after spending so many millions in renovations. I think it would have been more cost effective just to take care of the place. More wasted tax dollars….sheesh!

  9. It made me sick, sad and mad of the destruction on Midway, well they can’t destroy the memories I have of the Island when I served in 1980-1981. It was my first command after bootcamp in San Diego. Just like my ship, USS Constellation CV-64 (served on her after my duty on Midway Island), they are both gone but not forgotten.

  10. During 1963-1965, I was the USN Petty Officer In Charge of the harbor tower (gone-no pictures) and the designated operator of the U.S. Geologic Tidal Seismic Wave Station located eastern end of island. Operated intermittently a 63 foot crash boat in the lagoon area during seaplane landings.

    1. Harbor tower while I was rhere in ’57-58 was used as the Ham Shack. Talked many hours up there! It is also shown in movie Mr. Roberts, filmed in the lagoon.

  11. I have never visited Midway Island. The information on this web site is informative and sad. What a loss to make decisions that in effect abandon such an essential, historic base of operation – absence of foresight. Thank you for this website as a way to keep Midway available to the world.

  12. As a daughter of a vet who served on Midway and also an avid birder, I don’t see the problem with the way FWS has managed the island. Though a very important part of our country’s history, it is no longer an active military site and has been an important nesting site to over 20 species of seabird for hundreds of years before humans took it over. I understand it’s hard to see pieces of history fall into disarray but the island was never intended for long-term, expensive maintenance. The island receives so much rainfall each year and is often hit by strong storms, it’s only normal for damage to be caused and we have so many active military bases that need the funding. All of the structures that are slated for demolition are unsafe to traverse. I am glad there is a lot of photography, stories, documentaries and films about the Battle and it’s important that we keep the brave soldiers who served in our hearts forever, but the island is and always was a part of nature. Only seems fitting that it return to it’s former glory.

    1. Amen and well said. I feel the same. I spent two years there when my dad was stationed there in 1968-69 in the island’s “heyday” when I was 12 years old. Most awesome place ever for a kid! Wonderful memories but nothing lasts forever.. Kind of glad to see it returned to its “rightful owners”. Love the website and the photos.

    2. You are mistaken all the way around! I spent a year serving my country on The Navy’s Most Beautiful Isle and to see it being destroyed thru neglect and ignorance is awful! There are laws to be followed and FWS has followed none of them! The island was a wonderful place to learn history, SEE history and be in the midst of history. So many now care nothing for history so if Midway is TOTALLY destroyed, you just don’t care….and that is sad!

    3. I was stationed there from 1972 to 1976 and to see how this beautiful island is neglectfully being destroyed is a travesty. It would be a wonderful place to visit and revel in island life. If you weren’t stationed there or didn’t live there you just don’t understand. FES is destroying the place!!!

    4. You say you do not see a problem with how the FWS handled it, but Midway Island was declared a historic landmark in 1986 and designated a national memorial in the early 2000s. The structures on the island were supposed to be protected, preserved and maintained by the FWS as per FEDERAL LAW. Instead, a historic naval base that was vital to the defense of America’s interests in the pacific during World War 2 is now completely lost.

      In fact, the FWS actively ignored and sometimes outright fought attempts by Congress to stop its deterioration and destruction. The buildings there should never have been allowed to fall into such disrepair that demolition was necessary in the first place, which has left many in the congressional committee investigating whether or not it was a mistake handing over operations to them. It is blatant negligence on FWS’s part, and by refusing to communicate with the Battle of Midway Memorial organization and the general public, they knowingly and willfully broke ethical codes and practically violated federal law. It is, in my opinion, a disservice to this country’s ongoing struggle to preserve its history for future generations.

      Alas, all that remains of the historic structures now are the stories behind them, of Midway Atoll, and of the sacrifices of many brave naval airmen who fought and died there to stop the Imperial Japanese and turn the tide in the Pacific. If they haven’t already, FWS should face a Congressional hearing for knowingly and willfully neglecting a historic landmark.

      Honestly, if Midway Island was opened to the public as a museum under the US Navy’s jurisdiction (as it should have been, in hindsight), this would never have happened.

    5. Hello Janice, I am also a Daughter of a Vet that served on Midway Island from 1977-1979. Amazing memories of my time there. It is very heartbreaking to see these photos while remembering the time I spent there as a kid. I do feel that some of the buildings should be preserved and maintained. My Dad worked in the Ham Radio Bldg. I would like to share stories and memories with you. Maybe we were there at the same time.

  13. What a shame to destroy so much history to those that worked or lived there, Good thing there are photos. I guess FWS intent is to return the atoll back to originality. I always wanted to visit, but FWS is wiping away everything. Seems like each time the USN surrenders an installation this destruction takes place. I was stationed on Ford Island a place akin to Gettysburg and once the USN gave it up that now there are subdivisions and a bridge to the island which I find appalling given the historical significance as goes Midway atoll. very sad!

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