Documents –

Midway News Articles –

Midway Quotes –

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.

January 28, 1869  The Navy adopts the name Midway Islands, according to a report submitted to the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs.

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.  Executive Order 199-A places Midway Islands “under the jurisdiction and control of the Navy Department.”

April 20, 1903  About 30 people from the Commercial Pacific Cable Company arrive on Midway to begin constructing the cable station. They first erect temporary houses and then construct five permanent station buildings using steel beam supports and reinforced concrete, which is considered an innovative use of the modern material. The buildings provide an office for the cable operator; a mess and recreation hall; and quarters for the staff, servants, and a superintendent. The basements are used for support functions, such as storing provisions and housing the laundry and machine shop.

May 25, 1903Will Midway make a Naval Base

June 3, 1903  U.S. Navy ejects Japanese poachers and squatters and appoints Commercial Pacific Cable Company as island custodians.  The Japanese squatters and poachers were killing seabirds for feathers that were popular for women’s hats.

June 18, 1903  The ships C.S. Anglia and C.S. Colonia complete installing the undersea telephone cable between Guam and Midway.

July 4, 1903  The cable, which stretches from San Francisco to Honolulu to Midway to Guam to the Philippines, carries the first ‘around-the-world message’ and wishes “a happy Independence Day to the United States, its territories and properties.” The message takes 9 minutes to be received.

May 1904  About 20 U.S. Marines arrive to secure Midway as a U.S. possession and protect the cable staff and albatross from poachers.

December 8, 1904 – An Executive Order extended the jurisdiction of the Lighthouse Service to the noncontiguous territory of the Midway Islands. (Weiss, p. 18).

September 22, 1905  The U.S. Lighthouse Service illuminates the first lighthouse on Midway.  Note: The Navy stationed a 20-man Marine unit there carrying out a number of projects including the building of a lighthouse on Sand Island and placed mooring buoys for docking ships. These Marine sentries marked the first time the United States garrisoned Midway with defensive intentions but it would not be the last.
The lighthouse soon was obscured by the quickly growing ironwood trees planted by the Cable Company personnel as a windbreak.
Wanted: any information about how long the Lighthouse operated before its removal.

May 13, 1906  Dr. Miller, USN, died at 5:20am on Midway and was buried in an area now referred to as the ‘Doctor’s Cemetery‘. This was the first naval death recorded at Midway.  Four of six individuals buried there were doctors.

1908  Marine detachment was ordered away from Midway Island.

1917  The U.S. Weather Bureau establishes a station on Midway.

1921 –  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.

1923 –  Cable Company blasted an entrance for an undersea cable, between Sand and Eastern Islands, in the south reef.

1924 –  Midway Islands were investigated by Commander Rodgers of the USS Pelican, as a seaplane base.  Later, in the same year, Midway Islands were used as a rendezvous by the USS Seagull and eight submarines.

1934 – Japan denounced the Washington Treaty (1922).  Naval armament race was on.

April 12, 1935  Pan American Airways sets up an air base for weekly Trans-Pacific Flying Clipper Seaplane service and constructs a hotel on Sand Island. Midway becomes a regular fuel stop on a trans-Pacific route, including Honolulu, Wake Island, Guam, and Manila.

May 1935 –  Fleet maneuvers conducted off Midway.  Advance base established and amphibious operations were carried out.

November 22-29, 1935  Pan American Airways’ China Clipper makes the first trans-Pacific airmail flight from San Francisco to Honolulu, Midway, Wake, Guam, and Manila.

June 26, 1936 – Midway Islanders organize the “Gooney Club” in honor of friendly birds.

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.  They dredged a new channel, through the southern reef, between Eastern and Sand Islands.  They also construct harbor and seaplane runways in the lagoon.

November 1938 – Iceberg sighted near Midway Island.  The iceberg apparently from Alaska made its way to tte Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. “Old Salts” insist mid-Pacific iceberg must be sand spit” — Reference: Honolulu Advertiser April 5, 1939 & April 7, 1939

January 23, 1939 – 1st “Ham” radio operator to rig up his own set on Midway.  David P. Van Gieson given permission by Maj. Peter E. Bremel sets up Midway’s short wave radio.  Reference: Honolulu-Star Bulletin Jan. 23, 1939 p.9

April 25, 1939  Public Law No. 76-43 authorizes the Navy to establish, develop, or increase naval aviation facilities on Midway.

1940  The Navy contracts with Albert Kahn of Detroit to prepare standardized plans for barracks, mess halls, and hangars for various bases.  He also provides plans for the officers’ housing, shops, storage buildings, and theater on Midway.  Kahn is considered to be one of the country’s foremost industrial designers and known for his use of steel, reinforced concrete, and natural light to create comfortable and functional interior spaces.

March 1940  Construction of a naval air station begins. Private contractors start constructing land runways on Eastern Island 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. Ventres, 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.

1941  The Commercial Pacific Cable Company’s last superintendent on Midway begins his tenure. He remains on Midway during World War II, operating the cable for the Navy.

August 1, 1941  U.S. Naval Air Station Midway is commissioned, under the command of Commander Cyrill T. Simard, U.S. Navy, is established on Eastern Island.

September 24, 1941 – U.S. intercepts intelligence between Tokyo and the Japanese Consulate General in Honolulu, asking spies to report positions of U.S. ships at Pearl Harbor.

November 5, 1941 – Admiral Yamamoto orders the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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.

November 26, 1941 – The Japanese First Air Fleet leaves Japan’s Kurile Islands for Hawai’i. The fleet takes a route rarely used by merchant ships, and avoids radio transmissions to remain undetected.

November 30, 1941 – Japanese Midway Neutralization Unit (Captain Kaname Konishi) consisting of destroyers Ushio and Sazanami sent to attack Midway, from Tokyo Bay.

December 1, 1941 – Operation Z: Japanese Navy Destroyer Division 7 sailed from Tokyo, Japan sailed for Midway, soon to join the rest of the Midway Neutralization Unit.

December 6, 1941 – In Washington D.C., U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt makes a final appeal to the Emperor of Japan for peace. There is no reply.  Late this same day, the U.S. code-breaking service begins intercepting a 14-part Japanese message and deciphers the first 13 parts. The Americans believe a Japanese attack is imminent, most likely somewhere in Southeast Asia.

December 7, 1941 –  About 9 a.m. Washington D.C. time, U.S. officials decode the last part of the Japanese message, stating that diplomatic relations with the U.S. are to be broken off. About an hour later, another Japanese message is intercepted.  It instructs the Japanese embassy to break off talks with the U.S. at 1 p.m.  Washington time. The U.S. War Department then sends out an alert to Hawaii military officials. Technical delays prevent the alert from arriving until noon Hawaii time, four hours after the attack has already begun.  Almost at the same time, Japanese warplanes strike the Philippines and two U.S. islands: Wake and Guam, which are later occupied. The Japanese also invade Thailand and Malaya. Later that month, Japanese troops invade Burma and Hong Kong.

December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor is a U.S. naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii, that was the scene of a devastating surprise attack by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. Just before 8 a.m. on that Sunday morning, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes descended on the base, where they managed to destroy or damage nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded. The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

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.

December 8. 1941 – The United States Congress declared war (Pub.L. 77–328, 55 Stat. 795) on the Empire of Japan in response to that country’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and declaration of war the prior day. The Joint Resolution Declaring that a state of war exists between the Imperial Government of Japan and the Government and the people of the United States and making provisions to prosecute the same was formulated an hour after the Infamy Speech of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Following the U.S. declaration, Japan’s allies, Germany, and Italy, declared war on the United States, bringing the United States fully into World War II.

January 21, 1942 until February 8, 1942 – Offshore Japanese submarine I-69 reconnoiters and patrols the Midway Island area.

January 25, 1942 – Japanese submarine shells Midway Island, causing little damage and no loss of life.

January 30,1944 – Land based bombers from Midway to bomb Wake Island, to neutralize Japanese airfield installations on Wake Island.

February 9, 1942 – Japanese submarine I-69 surfaces to bombard Sand Island but is spotted by F2A Buffalos from VMF-211 and strafed and damaged but escapes.

March 10, 1942 – As part of a second K-Operation, H6K Mavis, piloted by Lieutenant Hashizume while attempting to photograph Midway Island over the target, shot down by a USMC F2A Buffalo.

April 18, 1942 – “The Doolittle Raid”, also known as the Tokyo Raid, was an air raid on the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on Honshu. It was the first air operation to strike the Japanese archipelago. Although the raid caused comparatively minor damage, it demonstrated that the Japanese mainland was vulnerable to American air attacks. It served as retaliation for the 7 December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and provided an important boost to American morale. The raid was planned by, led by, and named after Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle (later a Lieutenant General in the US Army Air Forces and the US Air Force Reserve). Under the final plan, 16 B-25B Mitchell medium bombers, each with a crew of five, were launched from the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet, in the Pacific Ocean, off Japan. There were no fighter escorts. After bombing the military and industrial targets, the crews were to continue westward to land in China. On the ground the raid killed about 50 people and injured 400. Damage to Japanese military and industrial targets was slight, but the raid had major psychological effects. In the United States, it raised morale. In Japan, it raised fear and doubt about the ability of military leaders to defend the home islands, but the bombing and strafing of civilians steeled Japanese resolve to gain retribution – this was exploited for propaganda purposes. The raid also pushed forward Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s plans to attack Midway Island in the Central Pacific – an attack that turned into a decisive defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) by the US Navy in the Battle of Midway. The consequences of the Doolittle Raid were most severely felt in China, where Japanese reprisals caused the deaths of 250,000 civilians and 70,000 soldiers. Of the 16 USAAF crews involved, 14 complete crews of five returned to the United States or to US forces elsewhere – one crew was killed in action. Eight US aviators were captured by Japanese forces in Eastern China and three of these were later executed. All but one of the B-25s were destroyed in crashes, while the 16th landed at Vladivostok, in the Soviet Union. Because the Soviet Union was not officially at war with Japan, it was required, under international law, to intern the crew during the war, and their B-25 was confiscated. However, within a year, the crew was secretly allowed to leave the Soviet Union, under the guise of an escape – they returned to the United States, or to US units elsewhere, by way of Allied-occupied Iran and North Africa.

27 May 1942 – Operation “MI” – The Invasion of Midway Island:
Hashirajima. In the afternoon, Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo Chuichi’s (former CO of YAMASHIRO) First Air Fleet Striking Force (“Kido Butai”) CarDiv 1’s AKAGI and KAGA and CarDiv 2’s HIRYU and SORYU departed the fleet anchorage.

29 May 1942 – Hashirajima. The First Fleet’s Main Body consisting of BatDiv 1’s YAMATO, NAGATO and MUTSU departs with Supply Group No. 1’s oilers NARUTO and TOEI MARU and DesRon 3’s light cruiser SENDAI with nine destroyers. Seaplane/submarine tenders CHIYODA and NISSHIN and light carrier HOSHO are in the Main Body’s Special Force as reserve under the command of Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Harada Kaku. The Main Body remains 300 miles behind Nagumo’s Striking Force.

CHIYODA: carries eight Type A midget submarines (HA-28, HA-29, HA-31, HA-32, HA-33, HA-34 and two others), about 150 men of the 12th Construction Battalion and 16 crewmen. NISSHIN carries torpedo boats No. 4 and No. 5. The Midway Invasion plan calls for the midget submarines to be stationed at Kure Island about 56 miles WNW of Midway. Lt (j.g.) Otozaka Shoichi, a member of the second midget training course, leads the Kure Island midget submarine unit.

The plan calls for the midget submarines to be landed on Kure Island on the afternoon of 6 June 1942. If Kure Island is found to be fortified by the Americans, Captain Harada is to form a Rikusentai (Naval Landing Force) of CHIYODA’s crew to occupy the island. Kure Island is then to also operate as a seaplane base for use against Midway. Later in June, four additional midget submarines are to be landed on the island.

June, 1942 – A single B-17 piloted by Major George E. Gober. from the 5th Bomb Group (5th BG), 31st Bomb Squadron (31st BS) flies a solo reconnaissance of Wake Island and made two runs over the island before being intercepted by Japanese fighters and claimed four shot down and one probable during a 40 minute combat. Although slightly damage, this B-17 returned safely to land at Midway Airifield.

3 LB-30s bomb installations on Wake during the night of 26/27 Jun and is staged through Midway.

June 4-6, 1942 –  Early on June 4, aircraft from four Japanese aircraft carriers, which had attacked Pearl Harbor 6 months earlier, attack and severely damage the base on Midway. After their initial attacks, the Japanese aircraft head back to their carriers to rearm and refuel, and while the aircraft are returning, the Japanese navy is surprised by U.S. naval forces in the area. Aircraft from the USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, and USS Yorktown attack the Japanese fleet. Three Japanese carriers are hit, set ablaze, and abandoned. A fourth Japanese carrier, the Hiryu, responds with two waves of attacks—both times bombing the USS Yorktown, leaving her severely damaged but still afloat. That afternoon, a USS Yorktown scout plane locates the Hiryu, and the USS Enterprise sends dive bombers to attack. The attack leaves the Hiryu burning and without the ability to launch aircraft. Over the next 2 days, the U.S. Navy forces the Japanese to abandon the battle and retreat to Japan. The Japanese lose approximately 4,800 men, four carriers, one cruiser, and hundreds of aircraft, while the United States loses about 307 men, one carrier, one destroyer, and over 100 aircraft. The Battle of Midway is considered the decisive battle of the war in the Pacific. After Midway, the Americans and their allies took the offensive in the Pacific arena.

June 4, 1942 – The Battle of Midway Begins 
, Nagumo launches a strike against Midway.
1025, as carriers AKAGI, KAGA and SORYU are preparing to launch strike against American carriers, they are attacked by “Dauntless” SBD dive-bombers from USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) and YORKTOWN (CV-5) and all are set afire.
1035, HIRYU is attacked unsuccessfully by Douglas TBD “Devastator” torpedo bombers of VT-3 from YORKTOWN.
1054 and 1245, HIRYU launches strikes that heavily damage YORKTOWN.
1703, while preparing to launch yet another strike, HIRYU suffers hits by four SBDs from ENTERPRISE and YORKTOWN and is set afire.
1916, SORYU sinks by the stern followed at 1925 by KAGA that also sinks stern first.

5 June 1942
0255, the C-in-C, Combined Fleet, Admiral (Fleet Admiral, posthumously) Yamamoto Isoroku (former CO of AKAGI) sends a signal from flagship YAMATO that cancels the invasion of Midway. Captain Harada receives the signal and orders CHIYODA, NISSHIN and HOSHO to set course westward.
0510, HIRYU is scuttled by an IJN destroyer.
0520, the burning hulk of AKAGI is scuttled by torpedoes from IJN destroyers and sinks bow first. The Main Body joins up with the remnants of the retiring Striking Force. MUTSU takes aboard about one-half of the survivors from AKAGI, KAGA, SORYU and HIRYU picked up earlier by DesRon 10’s destroyers.

6 June 19420410, a lookout of Cdr Tanabe Yahachi’s I-168’s spots YORKTOWN 12 miles away. For nine hours, Tanabe skillfully makes his approach.
1331, he fires five torpedoes. Two strike the already damaged YORKTOWN, but she still does not sink.

June 7, 1942 – LB-30 Liberator AL589 piloted by Major General Clarence L Tinker, Commanding Officer (C. O.) 7th Air Force is lost leading a mission from Midway for a predawn bombing mission against Wake.

►7 June 1942 – 0458, YORKTOWN rolls over to port and sinks in about 18,000 feet of water.

June 7, 1942The Battle of Midway Ends – One of the most decisive U.S. victories in its war against Japan—comes to an end. In the four-day sea and air battle, the outnumbered U.S. Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers with the loss of only one of its own, the Yorktown, thus reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy.

In six months of offensives, the Japanese had triumphed in lands throughout the Pacific, including Malaysia, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, and numerous island groups. The United States, however, was a growing threat, and Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto sought to destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet before it was large enough to outmatch his own. A thousand miles northwest of Honolulu, the strategic island of Midway became the focus of his scheme to smash U.S. resistance to Japan’s imperial designs. Yamamoto’s plan consisted of a feint toward Alaska followed by an invasion of Midway by a Japanese strike force. When the U.S. Pacific Fleet arrived at Midway to respond to the invasion, it would be destroyed by the superior Japanese fleet waiting unseen to the west. If successful, the plan would eliminate the U.S. Pacific Fleet and provide a forward outpost from which the Japanese could eliminate any future American threat in the Central Pacific.

At the Battle of Midway, Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft, and suffered 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft, and suffered 307 casualties. Japan’s losses hobbled its naval might–bringing Japanese and American sea power to approximate parity–and marked the turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II. In August 1942, the great U.S. counteroffensive began at Guadalcanal and did not cease until Japan’s surrender three years later.

►14 June 1942 – CHIYODA and her embarked midget submarines return to Hashirajima with the Main Body. 
Authors’ Notes:
[1] Kure Island, better known as Ocean Island, is about 6 miles in diameter and is the northernmost coral atoll in the world at 28-25N. It lies 1,200 miles NW of Honolulu and is the oldest and westernmost exposure of the Hawaiian Islands chain of volcanoes.
[2] Author/historian Kimata Jiro notes the midget submarines’ mission was to attack any future US invasion force en route to Midway. Kimata adds the idea to use the midget submarines as a defensive weapon was a complete reversal from their original tactical purpose.
[3] CHIYODA later delivers midget submarines HA-28, HA-29, HA-31, HA-32, HA-33 and HA-34 to Kiska, Aleutians.

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.

July 31, 1942 – One B-17 from Midway fly’s photo reconnaissance of Wake. The B-17 is Intercepted by 6 fighters; in the ensuing fight US gunners claim 4 fighters destroyed.

December 22, 1942 – At 4:30pm twenty-six B-24s from 307th Bombardment Group (307th BG) took off from Midway Airfield and climbed to 10,000′ for a night bombing mission against Wake Island. The bombers include B-24D “Bundles For Japan” 41-23969, B-24D “The Bad Penny” 41-23899 and B-24D “Flying Gator” 41-23898. After crossing the international dateline, the bombers arrived over the target on December 23, 1942 from midnight until 12:40am, the B-24s bombed one of nine targets from 4,000′ making a single bomb run. The B-24s were armed with five 500-pound general purpose bombs, with some fused with 1/10 second delay fuses for specific targets, the rest with instantaneous fuses. The Japanese appeared to be caught off guard and did not offer a coordinated defense, with anti-aircraft fire and search lights not beginning until the raid began and described as light and mostly from machine guns with some heavy anti-aircraft guns. Search lights did not seem to be coordinated with anti-aircraft fire and caught only a quarter of the formation in their beams. Four enemy aircraft were believed to be in the air but did not intercept. Afterwards, the formation climbed to 10,000′ and flew westward crossing the international dateline and arrived over Wake Island after midnight on December 23, 1942, with clear visibility. The B-24s bomb nine different targets between midnight until 12:40am. The defending Japanese seemed to be caught off guard and did not offer a coordinated defense and anti-aircraft fire and search lights did not commence until the raid began and were described as light and mostly from machine guns with some 20mm anti-aircraft fire and heavy anti-aircraft fire. Search lights did not seem to be coordinated with anti-aircraft fire and caught only a quarter of the formation in their beams. Four enemy aircraft were believed to be in the air but did not intercept. Returning, the formation climbed to 10,000′ and crossed the international dateline then returned to land at Midway Airfield on.

December 23, 1943 – Between 5:50am to 7:30am. None of the bombers sustained serious damage (aside from two with superficial damage) or injuries to crews. In total, this mission spanned over 4,300 nautical miles and reported in the press as a “Christmas Eve” raid.

January 1, 1943  Sand Island landing field, composing of three landing strips, was completed and ready for use.

May 15, 1943 – 7 B-24’s from Midway bomb Wake; 4 others abort and 7 others fail to find the target. 22 fighters intercept the formation; the B-24’s claim 4 shot down; 1 B-24 is lost.

July 24, 1943 – 8 B-24’s from Midway attack Wake Island, bombing oil storage, barracks, and a gun emplacement. 20-30 Zekes attack the formation; 9 fighters are claimed destroyed; 1 B-24 is lost in a collision with a falling Japanese fighter.

July 26, 1943 – The last mission against Wake from Midway. Eight B-24’s from Midway bomb targets including oil storage area. 20+ fighters (including an aircraft identified as a FW-190) intercept the formation. The B-24’s claim 11 of the fighters shot down.

January 8 – 21 February 21, 1944 –  Chanticleer-class submarine rescue vessel MACAW (ASR-11) grounded at entrance to Midway channel, while attempting to rescue submarine USS Flier (SS-250) which had grounded on the coral reef. USS Clamp (ARS-33), arriving 24 January, placed a crew on board Macaw after Flier was freed from the reef. Three separate attempts were made to refloat Macaw and pull her off, all without success and sank. During the sinking her commanding officer, Paul Burton, and four crewmen died after abandoning ship. Later, crew from the USS Shackle (ARS-9) worked on the site through 9 September 1944. A total of 1,086 diving hours were spent salvaging equipment and materials and placing demolition charges. More than two and one-half tons of explosives were used.

January 30, 1944 – PB2-Y’s (Patrol Squadron 13 and Patrol Squadron 102) from Midway Island carryout noctural bombing raid on Wake Island to neutralize Japanese airfield installations.  Motor torpedo boats Gyroaitei No.5 and Gyoraitei No.6 are sunk during the raid.   The strike marked the first time Coronados are used as bombers.

February 4, 1944 – To affect the neutralization of Wake during the Marshalls operation, two squadrons of Coronados from Midway made the second of four night bombing attacks on Wake, a 2,000-mile round trip.

February 8, 1944 – To affect the neutralization of Wake during the Marshalls operation, two squadrons of Coronados from Midway made the third of four night bombing attacks on Wake, a 2,000-mile round trip.

►February 9, 1944 – To affect the neutralization of Wake during the Marshalls operation, two squadrons of Coronados from Midway made the fourth of four night bombing attacks on Wake, a 2,000-mile round trip.

February 21 – June 1944 – John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016), was an American aviator in the United States Marine Corps, engineer, astronaut, businessman, and politician. He was the third American in space, and the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times in 1962. Following his retirement from NASA, he served from 1974 to 1999 as a Democratic United States Senator from Ohio; in 1998, he flew into space again at age 77.

When the United States entered World War II, Glenn quit college to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was not called to duty by the Army, and enlisted as a U.S. Navy aviation cadet in March 1942. Glenn attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City for pre-flight training and made his first solo flight in a military aircraft at Naval Air Station Olathe in Kansas, where he went for primary training. During advanced training at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in Texas, he accepted an offer to transfer to the U.S. Marine Corps. Having completed his flight training in March 1943, Glenn was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After advanced training at Camp Kearny, California, he was assigned to Marine Squadron VMJ-353, which flew R4D transport planes from there. The fighter squadron VMO-155 was also at Camp Kearny flying the Grumman F4F Wildcat. Glenn approached the squadron’s commander, Major J. P. Haines, who suggested that he could put in for a transfer. This was approved, and Glenn was posted to VMO-155 on July 2, 1943, two days before the squadron moved to Marine Corps Air Station El Centro in California. The Wildcat was obsolete by this time, and VMO-155 re-equipped with the F4U Corsair in September 1943. He was promoted to first lieutenant in October 1943, and shipped out to Hawaii in January 1944.

VMO-155 became part of the garrison on Midway Atoll on February 21 – June 1944. Then moved to the Marshall Islands in June 1944 and flew 57 combat missions in the area. He received two Distinguished Flying Crosses and ten Air Medals.

August 1944 –  After the Battle of Midway, extensions to Sand Island’s landing strips were completed, and large land-plane activity shifted from Eastern Island to Sand Island. Sand Island.  The airfield becomes an important stopover for aircraft transiting to the war zone as it pushes further east.

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.

1945 –  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  Japan surrendered and later signed the formal surrender document on September 2, 1945. The ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan, aboard the battleship USS Missouri. World War II officially ended. Consequently, flight activity on Eastern Island began to slow down and a gradual airbase shift to Sand Island took place.

October 7, 1945 –  Midway began demobilization.  Buildings were nailed up.  Eastern Island was abandoned.

Troop and facilities demobilization began on Midway.  The islands were placed in “caretaker status,” requiring less than 300 men stationed there for Sand Island base maintenance and potential air and sea rescues. Unused buildings were boarded up. Eastern Island facilities were abandoned soon thereafter.

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 Ordnance-man Gordan K. Ayers, attached to the U.S. Naval Air Station, Midway Island.

September 1947 – Pan American Airways discontinues its operations on Midway. The Civil Aeronautics Authority takes over the maintenance and operation of airport facilities at Midway, Wake Island, and Guam, and the facilities become part of the federal airways and links in the air routes over the Pacific.

May 29, 1947  The first child, in recorded history, graduated from Elementary School on Midway Island, her name was Nellie Leo Ganci.

May 1, 1950 –  The Civil Aeronautics Authority ceases airport operations on Midway because of the Navy’s decision to withdraw from the island.

June 6, 1950  Midway Naval Air Station was deactivated. Twenty Pan Am employees, plus a few Pacific Commercial Cable Company workers, remained to “guard the islands’ deserted buildings.”

September 1950  Seemingly overnight, Midway was reactivated in support of Korean War airlift operations as an aircraft refueling and servicing base. Oil, airplane fuel and other provisions were stockpiled at Midway to keep its generators and facilities functioning, and buildings were reopened and remodeled. An office building was renovated as a 62-bed “air evacuation holding ward hospital.” As the “war” progressed, thousands of troops on ships and planes stopped at Midway for refueling and emergency repairs.

1951 –  The Federal Communications Commission issues an order authorizing permanent discontinuance of all operations of the Commercial Pacific Cable Company’s route between San Francisco and Manila.

November 4, 1952 –  Midway hit by tsunami – caused by 9.0 earthquake that occurred off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia

December 31, 1952 –  The Pacific Commercial Cable Company ceased operations on Midway and turned over all its buildings and equipment to the US Navy.

April 1953  The Navy deactivates the Naval Air Station on Midway as hostilities in Korea decrease.

July 1953  The Navy reactivates the naval air station on Midway in reaction to Soviet bombers flying across the Pacific, sparking the era of “Cold War” hostilities. To protect the United States and keep track of the Soviet planes, construction begins on the Distant Early Warning Line—a network of radar picket ships to give a distant early warning of aircraft or missile attack on North America.

September 1954  John Ford, who at the request of the US Navy had filmed documentary footage during the Battle of Midway, returned to Sand Island for the filming of Mister Roberts. The light cargo ship USS Hewell sailed from Honolulu and moored at the naval base to double for the fictional USS Reluctant. Many of the film’s exteriors were shot aboard the Hewell and off Midway’s harbor.

August 28, 1955  The first twins, in recorded history, were born on Midway Island.  Parents were Mrs. Polly Worsley and John Worsley.

1957  A major building program was begun to create a Pacific airborne early warning base.

1957  A $40 million construction program begins as Midway becomes a home for the Pacific Airborne Early Warning portion of the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW), known as the Pacific Barrier or DEW Line.  Navy construction units (Seabees) complete an 8,000-foot runway for the heavy aircraft landing on Midway and build an aircraft hangar large enough to hold six aircraft. During this construction, the Hawaiian Dredging Company completes new housing, reconditions the station theater, and builds a new chapel in a modern “A” frame design.  Construction work employed over a thousand men. The channel between Eastern and Sand Islands was deepened to allow the largest US tankers to enter.

October 7, 1957  The Midway Station Theater was reopened, after being reconditioned by MCB #9.

May 1958 –  The Hawaiian Dredging Company completed a new hangar, school, chapel, housing and barracks on Sand Island. Midway’s population grew, maintaining a populace of about 2,800 working on DEW Line programs. On Eastern Island, 100 or fewer people were stationed with the Naval Security Group with their own barracks, mess hall and recreation facilities. Systems installed on Eastern Island by 1960 included a “missile impact location system” and other radar devices.

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. Midway became the refueling and jumping off point for squadrons of 3,000-mile-long round-the-clock patrols of Super Constellation Lockheed EC-121 Warning Star airplanes. Their objective was to extend early warning coverage from land-based antenna arrays and radar picket ships to detect surprise Soviet bomber and missile attacks. The flights continued through 1965. Warning Stars were nicknamed “Willie Victors” by naval aircrews, based on a slang version of the phonetic alphabet and the naval version of the aircraft’s pre-1962 designation of WV-1, WV-2 or WV-3.

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.

March 18, 1959 – The Hawaiian Statehood Act is passed and, on August 21, 1959, Hawaii becomes the 50th state. The law excludes Midway from the state of Hawaii’s territory.

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 (with Alaska admitted to the Union on January 3, 1959) was raised over Midway for the first time. Midway residents celebrated its 1859 discovery centennial.

August 21, 1959  Hawaii became the 50th US state. Politically, since Midway was already claimed by the US, it did not become part of the State of Hawaii and remained a US territory.

[Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean is a United States unorganized, unincorporated insular area administered by the US Navy (Executive Order 199-A on January 20, 1903). The Secretary of the Navy designated the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC) to act as its administrative authority.

A passport is required to enter the United States from Midway (including US citizens).

January 22, 1961A WV-2 (Willy Victor) aircraft was returning to Midway Island, having just completed a Distant Early Warning (DEW) Mission.  In the final stage of touching down at Midway, the aircraft came into contact with a small pile of coral on the approach end of the runway.  After a hard landing, the aircraft veered to one side of the runway.  It then hit a crash truck that was routinely parked to the side of the runway in the event of an emergency and broke apart.  A fire then started, killing six crewmen aboard the aircraft and three Navy men on the crash truck.

June 1960 –  First Fish and Wildlife Conservation Management Program implemented.

►July 9, 1962 – The U.S. Launched a NUKE Into Space 60 Years Ago
By Andrei Tapalaga

September 4, 1962 –  Executive Order 11048 makes the Secretary of the Navy responsible for the civil administration of Midway and vests all executive and legislative authority necessary for that administration, and certain judicial authority, in the Secretary.

October 3rd, 1962 – Midway hosts another Astronaut and his space capsule.  
Walter “Wally” Marty Schirra Jr. October 3rd, 1962 – Mercury Atlas 8 (MA-8, also Sigma 7) was the third manned orbital flight of the Mercury program. The pilot was Walter M. Schirra, Jr. The capsule reentered after completing six orbits, landing 440 km northeast of Midway Island in the Pacific Ocean, about 8.2 km from the prime recovery ship, aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) “Mighty Kay,”. The duration of the flight was 9 hours 13 minutes and 11 seconds during which Schirra travelled over 230,000 km. The Capsule was transferred to a tugboat USS Topenebee (YTB-373) to Midway Island then was loaded on for its return transit to Cape Canaveral aboard a Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

►August 24, 1963 – AT&T to provide MIDWAY ISLAND direct dialing.

1955-1965  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.

1965  With the use of “spy” satellites for Soviet surveillance, Warning Star flights from Midway halted.  Sand Island population was reduced to 1,700 to maintain the antenna array. US combat units were deployed to Vietnam. Some 58,220 US service men died in the conflict. The bodies of many casualties were repatriated to the US mainland through Midway during the “war.”

1968 – Midway is one of the main aircraft and ship refueling stations during the Vietnam War. It also accommodates classified missions and the storage and assembly of advanced underwater weapons and the Sound Surveillance System (Project Caesar), which includes miles of undersea cables with hydrophones to pick up the sounds of submarines.

January 13, 1969  Naval Facility Midway (NAVFAC) was commissioned. The NAVFAC was used in support of the Navy’s Undersea Sound Surveillance Program – SOSUS.       

October 1, 1968USO shows on Midway Islandthere were at least two shows along with separate stopovers with Bob Hope, Ann Margaret and his crew.

December 14, 1968 – The plane carrying Bob Hope’s Christmas show was in-route to Vietnam or returning back from I’m not quite sure, stopped for a few hours on Midway Island. Capt. Yesenky, the commanding officer, asked Mr. Hope if he’d consider doing something for the sailors and families on Midway, even though nothing had been scheduled. Bob Hope easily could have blown him off: No one but the captain knew of the request, the potential audience was only a couple of hundred at best, and his show people were in the middle of a very long and tiring flight, they were all sleeping when they landed on Midway.  In this photo, Bob Hope is speaking with Miss World.

Instead, Mr. Hope and his group put on the best show they could in the time available, including a singing number by Ann-Margret. A deep and everlasting gratitude for the courtesy and enthusiasm Bob Hope displayed to a tiny audience in the front of the main hanger. He’s a true professional and a real showman, with respect for any audience, no matter how small. Thanks for the memory

June 8, 1969 –  The United States and South Vietnam conduct secret meetings in the Midway House (the Officer-in-Charge House, property number 414). During this meeting, the United States announces the “Vietnamization” of the war and a U.S. troop withdrawal of 25,000 men.

May 1970  Last flight of the Airborne Early Warning Squadron.

March 1971   Eastern Island vacated by all personnel and designated a wildlife habitat.

October, 1973  The Gooney Statue project was completed by Lt. Cmdr. Dr. Robert C. Cook, an oral surgeon on Midway. He carved it during his time on the island, in 1972.  It was carved from a solid Mahogany wood piece that washed up onto the shores of Midway. He also carved a large ‘Aloha’ sign that was placed at the NAF Hangar, to welcome everyone to the island.  Neither carvings were maintained, by FWS, and both are now gone.

October 1978  Naval Air Station Midway re-designated Naval Air Facility and dependents begin to depart the island. 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 island.

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.

March 22, 1986USS Secota (YTB-415) sank, in deep waters, just off the shore of Midway Island.  The Secota submarine had just completed a personnel transfer with the USS Georgia when Secota lost power and collided with Georgia. Secota lost power before it was clear, causing an impact with the sub’s stern dive planes, where the tug got hung up.[1] Secota sank; ten crewman were rescued, but two crew trapped in the engine room drowned. While the media reported that the Georgia was undamaged,[2] a report sent by the Commanding Officer of the Georgia indicates that after returning the surviving crew members to Hawaii, Georgia underwent emergency repairs for minor damage sustained in the collision

1986 – The National Park Service initiates a study of Midway’s heritage resources to determine if any of the World War II-era properties are eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark. The study identifies nine eligible defensive structures on Sand Island and none on Eastern Island.

May 1987 – Six ammunition magazines, a pillbox (a defensive structure built on or near the beach), and two gun emplacements on the west side of Sand Island are, as a group, designated a National Historic Landmark and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

April 22, 1988 –  Midway was designated as an “Overlay National Wildlife Refuge”. This designation created a dual purpose use between the US Navy and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

April 25, 1991 –  Undersea cable services terminated.  A new Satellite Earth Station was activated for telephone and data communications.

July 1, 1993  The Naval Air Facility on Midway is recommended for closure under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 (Pub. L. No. 101-510, Tit. XXIX).

1993 and 1994  The Navy conducts cultural resources surveys to identify buildings, structures, objects, and sites on both Sand and Eastern Islands that might be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The Navy determines that 78 properties are eligible, including 9 properties that were designated as a National Historic Landmark.

September 30, 1993 –  Naval Air Facility Midway is “operationally closed” and the Navy initiates plans for environmental cleanup of the Island.

August 1995 –  The Battle of Midway Memorial was erected and dedicated on Sand Island.

February 5, 1996 – FWS, the Navy, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation enter into a programmatic agreement, as authorized by the regulations implementing section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, regarding historic preservation issues on Midway. The agreement addresses the transfer of historic properties identified on Midway in 1996 and how FWS was to treat the properties afterward.

August 2, 1996 – FWS enters into a cooperative agreement with the Midway Phoenix Corporation for support of a public visitation program.

August 1996 – Midway opens to public visitation.

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.

1996 –  Midway Phoenix Corporation (of Cartersville, Georgia) entered a cooperative agreement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to open Midway Atoll for public visitation. Wildlife watching, fishing, scuba diving and military history tours were featured in its ambitious tourism offering. In addition, Midway Phoenix would provide electric power, maintain buildings, service the airport and runways, and fuel planes and ships from time to time. Midway Phoenix invested millions of dollars into upgrading “Charlie Barracks” into hotel rooms, renovated offices, repaved roads, and constructed the Captain Brooks beach pavilion (bar) and Clipper House restaurant/dining room.

February 5, 1996 –  FWS, the Navy, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation enter into a programmatic agreement, as authorized by the regulations implementing section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, regarding historic preservation issues on Midway. The agreement addresses the transfer of historic properties identified on Midway in 1996 and how FWS was to treat the properties afterward.

August 1996  Midway opened for public visitation, via Midway Phoenix Corporation management.

1997 – The first systematic marine invertebrate survey is conducted and documents 316 invertebrate species, 250 of which had not been previously recorded at Midway.

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.

1998 –  FWS and the Oceanic Society sponsor the first two Elderhostel historic preservation projects. Working under the supervision of a historic preservation specialist, volunteers clean and preserve the 3-inch antiaircraft gun on Eastern Island, clean and stabilize Battery C, and remove paint from the 5-inch guns in the memorial park. FWS funds roof and soffit repairs on eight officers’ quarters and the Officer-in-Charge house. FWS receives a National Park Service grant for $6,000 to develop a plan for restoring the Armco huts, power plant, and cable station.

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.

April 29, 1998 –  Aloha Airlines began weekly tourist flights via a Boeing 737 to Midway.

October 12, 1998 – Honolulu Star Advertiser article
Midway’s Visitor Program
By Jan TedBruggencaete

1999 –  FWS and the Oceanic Society sponsor three Elderhostel historic preservation projects. Work includes restoring the theater windows and completing a condition assessment, cleaning and stabilizing Battery A, preserving the 5-inch guns, completing a condition assessment of the cable station, inventorying changes to the buildings, drafting new architectural floor plans, and organizing a library of historic resources.

June 1999 –  FWS issues the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Historic Preservation Plan 1999, which defines a program to integrate historic preservation planning with the refuge’s wildlife conservation mission.

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.

July 16, 1999The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Historic Preservation Plan as part of its
responsibilities for the long-term management of historic properties on
Midway Atoll. This plan defines a program to integrate historic
preservation planning with the wildlife conservation mission of the

August 31, 1999 – Monk Seal Death on Midway – The USFWS staff gave Valium to a seal – then dispensed a second does which then killed the seal.   Midway residents stated, “I’ve witnessed this same behavior by FWS at Midway, many times. While living there, they overdosed a Hawaiian Monk Seal with Valium. Their goal was to first capture the seal with a net, then give it Valium to sedate the animal. They didn’t think it was enough, so they gave it another dose. The additional Valium killed the seal.”  The USFWS Newsletter stated the seal died of a heart attack. The truth of this event was later discovered when the USFWS brought a food order to our Galley – which was written on a piece of recycled paper. On the back of their food order was the real story of how the seal was died. Our Midway doctor was there and witnessed the entire event.”

2000-2001 – FWS receives a Save America’s Treasures grant for $308,681 from the National Park Service. The grant provides funds for termite prevention of the officers’ housing, Officer-in-Charge house, theater, and several shop buildings; re-roofing of a cable station building (property number 643; mess hall); and restoration of an ARMCO hut.

September 13, 2000 –  In response to a mandate in the fiscal year 2000 appropriations act, the Secretary of the Interior signs Secretarial Order 3217 designating the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge as the Battle of Midway National Memorial “so that the heroic courage and sacrifice of those who fought against overwhelming odds to win an incredible victory will never be forgotten.”  Lands and waters of Midway were designated as a Battle of Midway National Memorial.

December 4, 2000 –  Executive Order 13178 establishes the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. The reserve encircles the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, except for Midway; however, it directs the Secretary of the Interior to follow the order’s management principles in managing the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge to the extent consistent with applicable laws.

January 2002  Midway was closed to visitors due to Cooperative Agreement disputes between Midway Phoenix Corporation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

January 7, 2002 – The fiscal year 2000 appropriations act requires the Secretary of the Interior to consult on a regular basis with organizations with an interest in Midway, including the International Midway Memorial Foundation, on the management of the national memorial. The Secretary of the Interior establishes the Battle of Midway National Memorial Advisory Committee to develop a strategy for a public dedication of the memorial, identify and plan for appropriate exhibits to commemorate this important event, and offer recommendations on improving visitor services.

March 6, 2002 –  The Midway Phoenix Corporation and FWS enter into a settlement agreement to terminate their cooperative agreement.

May 1, 2002  Midway Phoenix make their final exit from the island, citing cooperation issues with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

May 1, 2002  GEO-Engineers took over as a temporary contractor 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.

December 2002 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters. 

February 1, 2003  As much as 100,000 gallons of JP-5 jet fuel were spilled from a pipeline at the Midway fuel farm. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Response Team, the U.S. Coast Guard and Geo Engineers responded. The Service received $4.5 million in emergency supplemental funds for the fuel spill cleanup effort.

February 26, 2003 –  H.R. 924 is introduced in the House of Representatives, which, if enacted, would require the Secretary of the Interior to designate an agency within the department to replace FWS as administrator of Midway. Congress does not pass H.R. 924.

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.

July 3, 2003 – A  military C-130 makes an emergency landing because an engine is out.

December 9, 2003 – A Feasibility Study was prepared by the IMMF and presented to Assistant Secretary of Interior, Judge Craig Manson, who rejected the recommendation.  This Feasibility Study was prepared at no cost to the government.  The purpose of the study was to determine if an Affordable Visitor Program was financially feasible at Midway.

December 2003 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

January 6, 2004 –  A civilian Boeing 777 makes an emergency landing because of left engine issues.

►October 13, 2004 – Laysan ducks were introduced on Midway.  FWS transports 20 endangered Laysan ducks to Midway from their home at Laysan Island in the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The birds adapt well to the seeps created on Sand Island and surprised biologists by breeding during their first year, with 12 ducklings successfully fledging. An additional 22 ducks are transported to Midway in 2005, most of which are introduced to Eastern Island. By the end of 2006, more than 100 Laysan ducks are living on Midway.

November 22, 2004  FWS closed all airport operations.

December 2004 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

April 12, 2005 –  FWS spent $30,000 for a ‘Feasibility Study’, to determine if a Visitor Program were feasible at Midway. The study provided proof and offered examples of how a Visitor Program would work via an alternate Cooperative Agreement with a new Cooperative Contractor. The FWS elected to ignore the recommendations of that report and did not select an alternate Cooperator to run a Visitor Program at Midway, as they said they were going to do, since 2002.

May 26, 2005 –  An oversight hearing entitled “Public Access Within The National Wildlife Refuge System” was held before the Subcommittee on Fisheries and Oceans, House Committee on Resources. Witnesses include the Chairman of the International Midway Memorial Foundation, who requests that the committee consider designating an agency other that FWS to manage Midway.

December 2005 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

January 14, 2006 –  A kayaker drowned at Midway on Saturday 1/14/06, at about 12:30pm – Midway time.  He was a Chugach Thai employee, an electrician, who had only been on the island for a couple of weeks.  He was in a one-person kayak with three others preparing on shore to go with him.  The accident occurred right off-shore, in about chest-deep water.  Apparently, the kayak tipped over and the others did not notice what sort of trouble he was in, until it was too late.  The kayaker became entangled in the straps that are supposed to be used for a seat back-support.  It was reported that he tied the straps around his waist, like a seat-belt.

June 15, 2006 – President George Bush established Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, including including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.  Midway Atoll NWR and the Battle of Midway National Memorial are inclusive of the Marine National Monument.  Proclamation 8031 designates the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The monument is one of the largest fully protected marine managed areas in the world.  The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is a World Heritage listed U.S. National Monument encompassing 583,000 square miles of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Wikipedia

December 2006 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

February 28, 2007 –  Proclamation 8031 is amended by Proclamation 8112 to give the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument the Hawaiian name Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

March 1, 2007 –  The First Lady (Laura Bush) visits Midway in recognition of the newly designated Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and to increase public awareness of its exceptional marine ecosystem. On March 2, 2007, in a ceremony in Honolulu, accompanied by the Governor of Hawaii and native Hawaiian elders, she announces the new native Hawaiian name of the marine monument. While on Midway, she stayed at the Midway House, the former commanding officer’s residence and current home of the refuge manager.

June 4, 2007  Veterans commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the historic Battle of Midway on Sand Island.

December 2007 The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters. 

2008 – FWS contracts for a condition assessment of the cable station. Because of their deteriorated condition, a decision was made to salvage and dismantle three of the four two-story buildings and save one. FWS contracts to salvage the windows, doors, and other fixtures of the cable station.

January – 2008  After a six-year lapse, tourism reopened on Midway in very small, limited groups -paying about $7000 for their flights to Midway.

March – 2008  Limited public access to the island was restored, in very small groups -paying about $7000 for their flights to Midway.

2008 –  Visitor Program open to smaller tourist and student groups – about 250 to 325 total visitors for this year – Max capacity – 30 per week / Airplane max capacity – 18 passengers per flight – with each visitor paying about $7000 per visit.

December 2008 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters. 

2009 –  Visitor Program open to smaller tourist and student groups – about 250 to 325 total visitors for this year – Max capacity – 30 per week / Airplane max capacity – 18 passengers per flight – with each visitor paying about $7000 per visit.

2009 –  FWS’s Cultural Resources Team travels to Midway with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to record the terrestrial elements associated with the Battle of Midway for the American Battlefield Grant. Consultation is completed for the cable station and a memorandum of agreement is signed with stipulations that mitigate for the loss of three buildings. Engineering and historic preservation firms assess the condition of the seaplane hangar and present the results in two different studies. They begin the process of developing appropriate plans and costs for rehabilitating the seaplane hangar.

July 8, 2009 –  A military F-18 conducts an emergency landing because an engine is out.

October 2009Ham Radio Operators Activate Midway Island as K4M

December 2009 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  

2010 –  Visitor Program open to smaller tourist and student groups – about 250 to 325 total visitors for this year – Max capacity – 30 per week / Airplane max capacity – 18 passengers per flight – with each visitor paying more than $7000 per visit.

July 30, 2010 –  Delegates to the United Nations’ Educational Scientific and Cultural Organizations 34th World Heritage Convention agree to inscribe Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as one of 28 mixed (natural and cultural) World Heritage Sites.

December 2010 –  FWS revises its Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Historic Preservation Plan 1999 and reissues it in December 2010.  Officer 2-Story Houses were rehabilitated. These homes are 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.

December 2010 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  

2011 –  FWS facilities maintenance officials spent $193,000 for estimates to repair the Seaplane Hangar – which included the costs to transport and house potential bidders on Midway as well as to transport and house three to four staff members from the winning bidder to conduct work necessary for developing the estimate.  Plans and costs to rehabilitate/repair the seaplane hangar are finalized and contract bids are reviewed.  The project is halted because of the high cost.

2011 –  Visitor Program open to smaller tourist and student groups – about 250 to 325 total visitors for this year – Max capacity – 30 per week / Airplane max capacity – 18 passengers per flight – with each visitor paying about $7000 per visit.

March 10 – 11, 2011  Midway Tsunami – Cause by 9.0 earthquake in Japan
Following a massive earthquake in Japan, Midway was partially washed over by four successive tsunami waves—the tallest being 4.9 feet. There were no human casualties and no damage to buildings, but old seawalls suffered extensive damage. Due to the quake’s timing at the height of the breeding season, an estimated 110,000 Laysan and black-footed albatross chicks were killed in low-lying areas. As many as 2,000 adult albatrosses were also killed, as well as many Bonin petrels that drowned in their underground burrows. Introduced and endangered Laysan ducks suffered substantial losses on Eastern Island which was overwashed by the tsunami wave that covered the island by sixty percent.

December 2011 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters. 

June 4, 2012 –  Veterans commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the historic Battle of Midway on Sand Island.  The Navy lands a 737 on Midway, with about 100 attendees for the Battle of Midway Ceremony.  FWS handed out this brochure for the ceremony.

June 16, 2011 –  A Delta Airlines Boeing 747 jumbo jet with 380 passengers and crew made an emergency landing at Midway after a “sudden and serious” crack developed in the plane’s windscreen. Delta Flight 277 was en route from Honolulu to Osaka, Japan, at the time of the incident. The plane struck two albatrosses on its approach but suffered only minor damage to a flap. The passengers were later transferred to another Delta jet.

August 2, 2012 –  A military F-18 makes an emergency landing at Midway because of an in-flight emergency.

October 22, 2012 – Google completes a Street View scan of Midway.

October 23, 2012 –  USFWS suspends Midway’s Visitor Program citing agency budget cutbacks.

December 2012 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.

August 2013  Four of Five Historic Cable Houses were demolished by FWS, as scheduled.

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.

October 2013 –  SKI Warehouse, Building #393 demolished, by FWS, as scheduled.

November 2013 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

2014 –  USFWS volunteer program restarts – inviting Wildlife Volunteers – No Historic Preservation Volunteers are included, within their Volunteer Program.

July 10, 2014 –  A Boeing 777 en route to Guam with 348 passengers makes an unscheduled landing at Midway because of smoke in the cockpit.

August – 2014 A 35-foot sailboat was denied access to the Midway Harbor, after its on-board water maker stopped working.  The FWS stated their “biosecurity protocols dictate that un-permitted vessels should not be allowed access to the lagoon unless for an emergency”.  The FWS gathered water jugs and delivered them to the boat outside the lagoon.

November – 2014 –  Midway Visitor Program remains closed.

November 20, 2014 – Fish and Wildlife Oversight Hearing, held in Washington D.C. –” To determine if the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is being properly managed?”.

December 2014 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

March – 2015 – Midway Visitor Program remains closed – No plan to reopen the Visitor Program at Midway.

April 7, 2015 – April 21, 2015  Three GAO Auditors on-island to audit USFWS, in response to the November 20, 2014 FWS Oversight Hearing – To determine if the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is being properly managed.

July 14, 2015 –  Two U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets, one with a cabin pressure malfunction, make an emergency landing on Midway.

September 2015 –  FWS completes demolition of Fuel Farm Storage Tanks, as scheduled, despite request to pause demolition, for 10 years, at a November 2014 Congressional Oversight Hearing.

December 2015 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

May 6, 2016  14 years from the day Assistant Secretary of Interior, Craig Manson stated, The Department of the Interior is fully committed to restoring public access to Midway – The Wildlife Refuge and the Battle of Midway National Memorial remain closed to the public, with no apparent plan to reopen.  Airport and Harbor services are closed to everyone, except where an emergency is declared.

April 26, 2016  Visitor Program still closed to the public, with no plan by FWS to reopen.

May 2016  The USFWS on Midway denied the International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF)’s request to land on Midway’s airstrip on June 4, 2017 for the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Midway.

June 2, 2016  The long-awaited Government Accountability Report was released on June 2, 2016.  This Audit / Investigative Report was a result of the November 21, 2014 Hearing, in Washington D.C.
Here’s a link to the 117 page PDF GAO Report
Here’s a link to a GAO Video of the Midway Report
Here’s a link to GAO photos

September 1, 2016  President Obama visits Midway Island
Click here to see video and media news articles about his visit
American Flags are flown from two locations on the island.

November 11, 2016 – Veteran’s Day – The Fish and Wildlife Service did not fly the American Flag, from any location on the island.

December 7, 2016 – Pearl Harbor 75th Commemoration Day – 75 years ago Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese at 7:48 am. It was also 75 years ago that Midway was first attacked by two Japanese Battleships, within a few hours of the major attack on Pearl Harbor.  Two Imperial Japanese destroyers bombarded Sand Island. 75 years ago First Lieutenant George Ham Cannon-USMC was killed in the old Power House at Midway. He was later awarded (posthumously) the nation’s highest military award – the Medal of Honor.  These events occurred prior to the Battle of Midway. The BOM occurred between June 4 and June 7 of 1942 – six months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.  The Fish and Wildlife Service did not fly the American Flag, from any location on the island, on December 7, 2016.

December 2016 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  

May 11, 2017 – Newly appointed Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke, seeks input for Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996; Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment – Public asked to weigh in on future of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

June 5, 2017 – 75th Battle of Midway Ceremony, held at multiple locations including Midway Island This year, the USFWS limited the number of visitors to the island to only 25.  The International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF) was denied permission to land a chartered plane at the Midway airport, to accommodate other veterans and visitors to attend the ceremony.  The Midway ceremony included a live satellite feed for others to watch.

July 6, 2017 – A USFWS employee was attacked by a Hawaiian Monk Seal, while swimming from the beach at Midway.  The employee was the same person who had previously posted ‘Keep-Away’ signs, in the same area of the beach, for others to stay away from a mother seal and her new pup.

September 17, 2017The Midway Water Tower was demolished, as directed by the FWS.

November 24, 2017Large Mice populations are confirmed as attacking/killing Gooney Birds at Midway.  This problem was first noticed in 2015.

December 2017 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

December 2018 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

December 2019 – The FWS host as many as 20+ Bird-Counters.  Island remains closed to all other visitors.

August 1, 2020 – Visitor Program still closed to the public, with no plan by FWS to reopen – despite a legal mandate to keep the island open for Visitors.

August 6, 2020 Today marks 75 years since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in Japan – here’s what happened – click on this link.

►September 25, 2020 – An Airforce C17 made an emergency landing at Midway, after experiencing problems with their Navigation equipment. The aircraft required 1576 gallons of fuel @ $20.00/gallon, before departing from the island.

April 16th, 2021, 2:43am – United Airlines Flight 2781 from Guam to Los Angeles made an Emergency Landing, stating they had smoke in the cockpit.

The Aircraft was a model 787-900 Cargo Plane, with a crew of three;

The crew declared an Emergency with smoke in the cockpit.  They spent nearly two hours in trying to contact anyone at Midway.  The crew initially tried making contact via their 2-way radios. They also tried making contact via their on-board Satellite Phone and sent Email to their primary points of contact – but no one responded.

Prior to landing, the flight crew tried to activate the airport Runway Lights and PAPI Light systems, but neither light system could be turned on. The PAPI Lights and Runway Lights are both connected to the same remote-control switch, at the airport. The runway and PAPI lights are configured to allow remote control activation from any plane, by clicking the aircraft microphone on a certain frequency – but the airport landing lights and PAPI lights remained off. The pilot stated that the landing was like landing in a black hole, where the only landing lights were from the aircraft itself.

The aircraft made a safe landing, but the crew were still unable to find anyone on the island.  A plane of this size normally requires a mobile stairway be placed at the exit door.

Midway is designated as an ETOPS airport.  Its sole purpose is to be available for aircraft declaring an emergency, making transpacific trips.

After landing, the crew of three spent the next 2 hours and 40 minutes walking around the island, in hopes of finding someone.

Contact was finally made with Midway, when a former Midway Refuge Manager (on the mainland) called the current Refuge Manager (at Midway) to ask if they were aware that a large plane had just landed.  The on-island Refuge Manager was completely unaware of any aircraft that had landed on the island.

A former resident employee at Midway stated that the Light Control System was likely left in the Standby Mode and not returned to Auto Mode after scheduled preventive service was performed.  The employee stated this had happened several times and was likely the cause for the Light Systems to not respond to the airplane control signals.

September 26, 2021 – A Hawaiian Airlines flight from South Korea made an emergency landing on Midway Atoll on Friday due to a low oil pressure notification.

After about 5 hours and 45 minutes of flight time, the captain received the alarm and decided to divert the plane to Henderson Field on Sand Island in Midway Atoll.

Flight HA460 (Airbus A330-200 registered N386HA) took off from Seoul Incheon International Airport at 21:00 SST on Thursday with 67 passengers and 12 crew on board and was due to arrive in Honolulu on Friday.

After the emergency landing, Hawaiian Airlines said the plane landed without incident and a replacement plane (Airbus A330-200 registered N381HA) was dispatched from Honolulu with a team of mechanics and crew. This aircraft landed in Honolulu with a delay of 9 hours.

►January 13, 2022The SAR/Seaplane Hangar collapsed. It was reported that heavy winds and rain were the cause of it collapsing. The Hangar was not included within any preventive maintenance program, over the past 20-years. In 2011, FWS facilities maintenance officials spent $193,000 for estimates to repair the Seaplane Hangar – which included the costs to transport and house potential bidders on Midway as well as to transport and house three to four staff members from the winning bidder to conduct work necessary for developing the estimate.  Plans and costs to rehabilitate/repair the seaplane hangar are finalized and contract bids are reviewed.  The project is halted because of the high cost.

March 28, 2022Plan To Eradicate Mice That Attack Albatrosses On Midway Delayed Another Year – U.S. Fish and Wildlife has been planning an eradication program on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge since 2015, after it discovered that, despite the mismatch in size, house mice were climbing onto and biting Laysan albatrosses, wounding and sometimes killing them.

August 24, 2022The near-abandoned 40-population American Island which no one has been allowed to visit for a decade

September 5, 2022UAL Hawaii Flight Diversion Today | Medical Emergency Reminder

September 26, 2022Early detection system for nuisance alga infesting Papahānaumokuākea reefs

16 thoughts on “Chronology

  1. I spent two wonderful years on Midway when I was 11-12 years old, with my family.
    Dad was a communications officer. It was like growing up in a small town but in the middle of the Pacific. So many great stories and fond memories. We lived on Officer’s Row. I played little League baseball (4 teams), went to George Cannon School and dad was sometimes a lay speaker at the Chapel. As much as I would’ve maybe liked to have returned for a visit, personally I have no issue with its management by the NFWS. I find it fascinating to see it revert back to a natural state. I check out this website and virtually tour the island occasionally, so kudos to whoever is maintaining this website!

  2. After reading through all these dates and events, it is very clear that the main problem caring and maintaining Midway are its Overlords and Overseers mainly the FWS.
    Hopefully in the near future some Congressman will pick up on this and boot them from the Atoll… Clearly this is a Sanctuary not only for the Wildlife but for the Men who fought and for the United States during WWII and after, this should not simply be a playground alone or money scheme for FWS.

    1. Midway is also a Battle of Midway National Memorial – the only National Memorial that is closed to the public, with no plan to ever reopen for public visitation. The FWS sponsor Wildlife Volunteers, for up to 6-months at a time – but never sponsor anyone for Historic Preservation. By Public Law, the FWS are required to preserve the history of Midway.

  3. I arrived on Midway 8/73 as an AG3 straight out of A and C school for a 15 month tour. I married a WAVE I met in A school at Lakehurst, NJ who was stationed at Barbers Point Hawaii. She was able to transfer to Midway and my 15 months turned into 39 months. I took my stay there for granted not realizing it was the best time of my life and I would love to go back.The island and the people I met there gave me memories to last a lifetime.I still have a fishball found on the enlisted beach.

  4. I was assigned to the Naval Facility, not to be confused with the Naval station on Midway island from 1973 until 1975 as a Navy Yeoman in the operations department … yes I requested a second tour there. I loved this special place. Now look what the FWS has done to her.
    Makes me sick, only wish I could see her one more time before I die.

  5. i flew off midway for 2.5 years in aewbarronpac. i feel that anybody should be allowed to visit a national monument, not just bird counters

  6. It sounds as if the FWS does not wish to share their private island except in emergencies. Maybe it’s time the National Park service took over.

  7. My Dad (currently age 98) was a civilian worker with Morrison & Knudsen on Midway from June 1941 to about March 1942. His memories of the damage done to the Midway Atoll on 7 Dec 1941 are quite different from what is described on this webpage. Can you tell me what sources you used to obtain this information about the damage and the deaths?

  8. I served on Midway from 71-73. Down right shameful what the government has let happen to this historic island. All because of the all mighty dollar. No patriotism in this government, or the Presidents that let this happen. Shameful.

  9. 1965 – With the use of “spy” satellites for Soviet surveillance, Warning Star flights from Midway halted. Sand Island population was reduced to 1,700 to maintain the antenna array. US combat units were deployed to Vietnam. Some 58,220 US service men died in the conflict. The bodies of many casualties were repatriated to the US mainland through Midway during the “war.”
    The VA only accept evidence from one of our service’s
    Some where there is a record; flight plan; ?? Thank you

  10. I am a 1966-1969 Airforce vet. Ihavebeen to the Navy Airport at least 15 times betweem 1966-1969. Would love to return to the NAS. I have a Passport but not sue how to travel? Love to see the Goony birds again. Great memories.

    1. My Name is Derrell Sharp. I’m a service officer for the DAV, Chapter 5,
      Bremerton, WA.
      I’m helping a veteran who served on Midway 1966 and 1967. He was E-2 or E-3 cook. When plane’s coming from Vietnam landed , he would be assigned
      the job to remove the remains of lost veterans from planes to the hanger to keep them cooler.
      My request is proof this did happen. There seems to be no flight records or
      logs to back up his story.
      any help would be helful.

      I was assigned to the Seabees unit 10. We build the base and air strip at
      Quang Tri 1967-68.

      Thank you for any information.
      Derrell E. Sharp, CSO DAV Chapter 5, Bremerton, WA.

  11. Concur with Mr. Estes. As a retired USN officer, I would like to revisit the island having gone to Midway Island 3 times on official duty. If I am able to visit, I will take an American flag with me, because it appears FWS has a shortage of flags. (What else could account for the lack of patriotism by not flying our flag?)

  12. Great report. Midway should be taken away from FWS and turned over to the National Park Service so a viable and cost effective visitor program could be established.

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