PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Pensacola Navy community celebrated the 81st Battle of Midway Commemoration where retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) served as the guest speaker at the National Naval Aviation Museum on Naval Aviation Station Pensacola, June 2, 2023.
Rear Adm. Pete Garvin, commander, Naval Education Training Command, opened the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) hosted event by remarking that it was an ideal day and an ideal location to commemorate the Battle of Midway and those who served in it.
“It is quite fitting that the information professionals at CIWT spearheaded the efforts to make this ceremony happen,” said Garvin. “With the help of naval crypt analysts, their ability to intercept enemy message, the United States was able to bring the fight, to the Imperial Japanese Navy.”
Garvin continued, “Today, to better prepare ourselves, should we be called to serve in such a capacity once again, it is imperative that we draw on the past bravery and perseverance of those who fought for our nation. When conflict arises we must be willing to mirror or exceed the level of courage displayed from June 4 to June 7 1942. Let us never forget the sacrifices made by those who served at the Battle of Midway, and reflect on ways to cultivate the legacy of those valiant heroes in the modern battlespace.”
“The Battle of Midway was one of the most decisive battles in all of military history, and the turning point of the war in the Pacific,” said Cox. “It’s important for us to remember because it was won by Navy personnel who held the line during the darkest days of World War II.”
Cox began a vivid description of the events that happened during the Battle of Midway by saying, “The commander’s estimate of the situation for the Japanese, prior to the Battle of Midway, stated that the enemy, us, lacks the will to fight. That was their fundamentally fatal assumption from the get go in this whole battle.”
Cox said that the Battle of Midway is sometimes referred to as a miracle, but it wasn’t. Fundamentally, the huge Japanese naval force was gathered with the object of drawing out the American carriers and sinking them once and for all. This effort was based on operational deception with Admiral Yamamoto, commander in chief of their combined fleet, working from a bad plan based on faulty intelligence.
“Whereas Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, had a good plan that was based on probably the best intelligence that anyone ever had prior to that actual battle,” said Cox. “But the battle was actually decided by four Japanese aircraft carriers with 248 aircraft against three U.S. aircraft carriers and an island with a total of 320 aircraft.”
Cox went on to describe the incredibly important intelligence efforts that went into shaping the outcome of the battle, However, ultimately, he asserted that the battle was not be won by the intelligence, but by the courage and bravery of the pilots who had to face an incredibly capable and determined adversary.
Cox said he hopes that everyday people take away from events like the Battle of Midway commemoration is what their Navy has done to preserve the freedom that all of us take for granted, and the knowledge that it came at a great cost.
CIWT’s Commanding Officer Capt. Christopher Bryant said they were proud to host the commemoration, and offered a special thanks to Cox for coming down to Pensacola to serve as the guest speaker and to Garvin for attending and providing the opening remarks.
With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, Center for Information Warfare Training trains over 26,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. Center for Information Warfare Training also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.