JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
The Navy Medicine Training Support Center, or NMTSC, staff held a ceremony June 6 commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway that was attended by hundreds of staff and students at the Medical Education and Training Campus, or METC, at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.
The Battle of Midway took place June 4-7 in 1942, and is often referred to as the turning point of the Pacific portion of World War II, due to the damage inflicted on the Japanese Fleet and the importance of maintaining control of Midway Island at that time.
Just a couple of weeks earlier, unprecedented efforts by U.S. codebreakers identified Midway as the next target of the Japanese. American forces began formulating a plan to lure the Japanese fleet toward the island of Midway and catch them by surprise. A much smaller group of U.S. ships took on a large and powerful fleet of Japanese ships and aircraft.
“Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, and we honor the warriors and remember their great victory and tremendous sacrifice,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Garcia, a Basic Medical Technician and Corpsman Program, or BMTCP, instructor at METC. “The Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment have been reflected in victories throughout history. Today, we honor the men and women who turned the tide of the war in the Pacific in our nation’s favor.
“The men and women who fought that day changed our naval heritage, the history of our nation and the world. It demonstrated the power and vast capability of naval aviation and the resolve of a nation that was awakened by the attack on Pearl Harbor,” Garcia added.
Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser and almost 292 aircraft during the battle. The U.S., although fighting with only three carriers, lost just one, the USS Yorktown, along with one destroyer and 145 aircraft. Casualties were drastically different with approximately 2,500 Japanese lost and 307 Americans lost.
Quick and decisive action by the U.S. Navy led to a much-needed victory at Midway and led to future success in the War in the Pacific and keeping the Japanese away from the United States’ western borders.
The guest speaker at NMTSC’s ceremony was Chief Petty Officer Alexander Bransdorf, a METC surgical technician instructor, who received his bachelor’s degree in military history. Bransdorf spoke about his research on the Battle of Midway and its importance to American military history, as well as the importance of history and heritage to today’s Navy.
“The Navy takes its heritage seriously,” he said. “I chose to study history because that’s what makes our service what it is today, building upon the legacy of men who fought back against overwhelming odds when the war could be perceived as lost. These men and women stood and fought against tyranny and oppression, and Sailors around the world today continue that tradition.”
Aside from the speakers, the ceremony also included a formal wreath laying, the playing of “Taps” and singing of the Navy hymn by the BMTCP choir.