Today, 4 June, is generally recognized as the anniversary of the Battle of Midway. This year marks the 74th anniversary of this pivotal battle. What I didn’t realize until a few weeks ago is that the Navy conduces an official memorial ceremony for the battle at the Navy Memorial in downtown Washington, DC (across the street from the National Archives). This year, the ceremony was held on Friday morning. A mass email went out to those of us stationed at the Pentagon, asking for volunteers to support the ceremony. I gave an affirmative reply immediately, as the Battle of Midway is a topic I have been fascinated with most of my life. I was lucky enough to be selected as the escort for one of the 5 veterans of the battle that attended the ceremony. Specifically, I escorted Captain Jack Crawford, USN (Ret), USNA Class of 1942.
He, along with the rest of the class of ’42, were graduated a year early due to the outbreak of war. He was present on the USS Yorktown (CV-5) as an Ensign when she was sunk during the battle. Later, he was assigned to an escort carrier and a cruiser in the Atlantic. After the war, he was selected to be a part of the Naval Nuclear Power program, serving as the project officer overseeing the installation of the nuclear reactors on the USS Enterprise (CVN-65). To say that he had a few interesting stories to tell is an understatement!
On Friday evening, Gwen and I had the opportunity to meet up with CAPT Crawford and his family for the annual Battle of Midway commemoration dinner at the Army-Navy Country Club. This was another fantastic opportunity to meet and speak with these American heroes, and get their very unique, very personal perspective on the events of 4 June 1942. This is something we are very interested in doing next year as well!