Over 75 years ago, the United States suffered one of the most devastating attacks on its soil. In the wake of the attacks, after being drawn into a war it had vowed to stay out of, Americans were locked in a back-and-forth struggle with the Imperial Japanese Navy, a force that proved to be formidable.

On June 4th, 1942, the American military got the opportunity to strike back against Japan, which was gearing itself up for another surprise attack on an American military installation. This time, the target was the Midway Atoll, but the US troops would be well-prepared for what was coming their way.

Honoring the Battle of Midway

Battle of Midway

June 6, 1942 – Japanese Cruiser Mikuma capsizing at Midway

The three-day battle at the Midway Atoll proved to be the Allied victory that turned the tide of the War in the Pacific. With a large portion of the Japanese fleet sunk and irreparably damaged, the United States was able to continue pushing hard throughout the Pacific Theater, earning victory after victory in decisive battles including Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

Honoring such an important event of the Pacific War—a much-needed victory after the morale-crushing attack on Pearl Harbor—the Battle of Midway received a hard-earned recognition at one of Pearl Harbor’s most iconic locations – the Pacific Aviation Museum. Over Memorial Day Weekend of 2017, the museum hosted a two-day symposium that hosted award-winning authors and historical guides who presented the Battle of Midway from both the Japanese and American viewpoints.

The symposium featured presenters including Professor of History Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy, Dr. Craig L. Symonds and chief historian of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Daniel Martinez. The two presenters, along with guest speakers Matt Brown of US Fish and Wildlife Service and Jonathan Parshall, founder of combinedfleet.com, dove deep into the events at Midway, discussing its impact, how it unfolded, and how it could have changed the war for the worst.

The discussion was just the start of the commemoration, serving as a lead-in to the unveiling of the museum’s latest exhibit. Through a short reception, the Pacific Aviation Museum unveiled the Battle of Midway exhibit, featuring interactive kiosks for guests curious about this important battle of World War II.

The exhibit incorporates the talking points of the symposium presenters, detailing the Japanese assault on Midway, engaging museum guests and transporting them back to the waters of the Pacific in June of 1942.

World War II and Beyond

Pacific Aviation Museum

Pacific Aviation Museum

In addition to the new Battle of Midway exhibit, the Pacific Aviation Museum serves as a valuable tool for learning about the Pearl Harbor assault, featuring an A6M Zero Japanese fighter and a dissected view of the modified torpedo responsible for damaging the ships within the harbor.

The museum is also a resource for all military aviation, not just during World War II but throughout the history of American conflicts. Get lost in history with this one-of-a-kind look at military aviation from its earliest days to today.

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