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Special Announcement

CACI Commemorates the 74th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway, June 4-7, 1942

June 4, 1942 marks the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which turned the tide of World War II in the Pacific Theater. "The Battle of Midway," says Dr. J.P. (Jack) London, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of CACI International, "was one of the great naval battles in history, and a testament to the courage, grit, and determination of the American Navy. And it is important that we at CACI, a company that has served the Navy almost from our first project in 1962, take time to remember the day, its success, and the cost of that success."

Turning the Tide in the Pacific

The Empire of Japan wanted complete domination of the Pacific Ocean, but to do that, it had to put the American Navy out of commission. The Japanese believed that the December 7, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent victories had decimated both American morale and fighting capacity. The Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 partially refuted that notion, but it was the Battle of Midway one month later that turned the tide in the Pacific and began the campaign that would ensure America’s ultimate victory.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
Portrait courtesy of U.S. Navy

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz organized and commanded the defense of the Midway naval base, which turned the tide in the Pacific Theater.

Combined Fleet Commander Isoroku Yamamoto’s plan for Midway was to lure America’s Pacific carriers into a trap with an attack on the American airbase there. When the Navy responded, he could then surround and destroy that force with his own sizeable, but hidden, fleet. Unknown to Admiral Yamamoto, American cryptanalysts had already broken the Japanese navy’s codes and had over 1,000 messages detailing Yamamoto’s extremely complex coordination and planning for the conquest and occupation of Midway. Forewarned and forearmed, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was ready and waiting to support the American air base.

The battle began with Japanese bombing raids against the Midway atoll early in the morning of June 4, 1942. At 9 o’clock in the morning, American bombers from USS Yorktown, believed by the Japanese to have been sunk during Coral Sea, began their attack on the Japanese carrier Soryu by 10:30. Battle raged throughout the day and long into the night. Japan’s fourth, and last, heavy carrier, Hiryu, was sunk 9 o’clock on the morning of June 5th. The American fleet and the Midway base launched attacks on the remaining Japanese forces over the next two days, and the battle officially ended when Yorktown sank on June 7th.

 Isoroku Yamamoto
Photo courtesy of National Diet Library, Japan

Combined Fleet Commander Isoroku Yamamoto underestimated American resolve and morale following Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Coral Sea.

American losses for the battle were relatively light: Yorktown; a destroyer, Hammann; just over 100 aircraft; and 300 sailors and naval aviators. By contrast, Japan lost all four of its heavy aircraft carriers, a heavy destroyer, and over 3,000 sailors and aviators. Japan did not have the resources to recover from the loss, which was so devastating that only Emperor Hirohito and a few top officials were even allowed to know about it. America’s victory re-established its superiority in the Pacific and allowed valuable resources to be concentrated on the European theater until the final victory.

As Dr. London notes, "America will be forever grateful for the bravery of her sailors and naval aviators at Midway. America had many tactical and strategic advantages that day, but none were more important than the leadership of Admiral Nimitz and the courage, dedication, and skill of America’s sailors and airmen. From every flight deck and every cockpit, America demonstrated that it would always rise from defeat through determination and resilience."

A retired naval aviator with 24 years of active and reserve duty, Dr. London also received the Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Award from the Navy League of the United States in 2007 for service and support to the U.S. Navy as an industry civilian and executive leader.

 

 

 

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