In the Military
Aviation Museum hosts Midway talks
The Pacific Aviation Museum at Ford Island will sponsor lectures this week to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Battle of Midway Island. Lectures will be held at 2 p.m. today and 7 p.m. tomorrow.
Lecturers will include Chief Petty Officer Chuck Wheeler, who served on the USS Enterprise as an ordnance man from 1940 to 1944, fighting on Adm. Bull Halsey's flagship during the early carrier raid against the Marshall Island, the Doolittle Raid, the Battle of Coral Sea, Battle of Midway and Guadalcanal. In 1945, Wheeler was transferred to Pensacola Naval Air Station to prepare for the invasion of Japan when the atomic bomb ended the war.
The Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942, involved six Japanese aircraft carriers, 11 battleships, 13 cruisers, 45 destroyers and assorted submarines, transports and mine sweepers. The American defense consisted of three aircraft carriers, eight cruisers, 14 destroyers and the aircraft stationed on Midway Island itself.
The Americans had cracked the Japanese code and knew that the Imperial Japanese Navy had plans for the U.S. fleet at Midway. On June 4, they discovered the Japanese fleet northeast of Midway. An air battle quickly developed. When the battle was over, the Japanese lost four carriers, one cruiser and 322 aircraft; another cruiser was damaged. The United States lost a carrier, a destroyer and 147 planes; 307 Americans were killed.
Speaking also will be Alan Lloyd, who remembers being jolted out of bed by bombs that fell on Mount Tantalus, dropped by a Japanese seaplane during a failed second attempt to bomb Pearl Harbor in the spring of 1942. Call Kathryn Budde-Jones at Pacific Aviation Museum for more information at 441-1012 or go to www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.
Brig. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, U.S. Army Pacific deputy commander at Fort Shafter, will become the new commander of U.S. Army Japan at Camp Zama. He will replace Maj. Gen. Elbert N. Perkins, who will retire June 30. Wiercinski also will become deputy 1st Corps commander and head of the forward headquarters element at Camp Zama. Wiercinski spent 15 months as the support deputy commanding general for Multi-National Division-North in Iraq. He also led the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Afghanistan. He was commissioned as an infantry officer after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1979.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at email@example.com