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US Navy marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Navy personnel stand at attention during a ceremony and commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway at the U.S. Navy Memorial on June 4, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

U.S. naval forces had the initiative after the Battle of Midway. It really marked the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

WWII Battle of Midway veteran Henry Kudzik, 87, of Bethlehem, Pa., right, holds a photograph of a sinking destroyer, next to fellow veterans including Howard Snell, of Kingman, Ariz., during a Battle of Midway 70th Commemoration ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington on Monday.

The Associated Press reports:

Six months after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan sent four aircraft carriers to the tiny Pacific atoll of Midway to draw out and destroy what remained of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. But this time the U.S. knew about Japan's plans. U.S. cryptologists had cracked Japanese communications codes, giving Fleet Commander Adm. Chester Nimitz notice of where Japan would strike, the day and time of the attack, and what ships the enemy would bring to the fight.

The U.S. was badly outnumbered and its pilots less experienced than Japan's. Even so, it sank four Japanese aircraft carriers the first day of the three-day battle and put Japan on the defensive, greatly diminishing its ability to project air power as it had in the attack on Hawaii.


Charleston S.C.’s WCBD TV speaks with John Hancock about his memories of the epic battle.

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