Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Lest we forget

On the anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Midway in 1942, I feel an obligation to repost this.

At the center of the battle was Homewood native and Peabody High School graduate Arthur Ely who was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously with this citation:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Arthur Vincent Ely (NSN: 0-75039), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane and Executive Officer of Torpedo Squadron SIX (VT-6), attached to the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6), during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 June 1942. Participating in a vigorous and intensive assault against the Japanese invasion fleet, Lieutenant Ely pressed home his attack with relentless determination in the face of a terrific barrage of anti-aircraft fire. The unprecedented conditions under which his squadron launched its offensive were so exceptional that it is highly improbably the occasion may ever recur where other pilots of the service will be called upon to demonstrate an equal degree of gallantry and fortitude. His extreme disregard of personal safety contributed materially to the success of our forces and his loyal conduct was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
If you want to read more on the battle and don't have time for Professor Goldstein's authoritative treatment, the crib notes are in the Atlantic: World War II: Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Campaign. But it is hard to intepret what the citation above is really saying without reading the book: The Unknown Battle of Midway: The Destruction of the American Torpedo Squadrons.