Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Midway: Turning Point in the Pacific Theatre

Hello again! Long time no talk to...

OK... I'm guilty as charged! I allowed the busyness of life to overwhelm me, and I haven't posted anything to our blog for months. Sorry about that! In any case, I'm back.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a West Point graduate (class of '83) who served as an Army Aviator (CH-47 Chinooks) for 6.5 years before getting out of the Army for my higher calling as a wife and mother. Now I have 3 boys (Christopher - 12, Shawn - 10 and Matthew - 9) and a full-time job as an IT Project Manager for a Fortune 500 company. My eldest son loves anything and everything related to World War II. His brothers are also interested in WWII, but not with the love that Christopher possesses. I have to admit, the same was true of me until I partnered with my eldest to develop our World War II for Kids web site last year. Now I eagerly engage in subjects that allow me to share my sons' interest.

Last year, Christopher won the county and regional Social Studies Fairs and was a finalist at the state Social Studies Fair for his project titled The Role of American Airborne Forces in the European Theatre of World War II. I was so proud of him! This year, he opted to turn his sights to the Pacific theatre, covering the most decisive naval battle in U.S. history: the Battle of Midway. More specifically, his project addresses how the superior Japanese fleet was defeated by the inferior U.S. fleet in this battle that served as the turning point in the Pacific theatre. His conclusion: Determination to strike back at Japan for its devastating attack at Pearl Harbor, plus superior American naval leadership, intelligence and tactics, and maybe a little bit of luck, led to the major defeat of the Japanese fleet by the smaller U.S. fleet at the Battle of Midway. Once again, Christopher took home the blue ribbon at the county Social Studies Fair, and he anxiously awaits the regional and state Social Studies Fairs in January and March 2009.

I must admit, I learn as much as Christopher does when I help him pull together papers and projects. As a cadet at West Point, I did a research paper on how Japan managed to deal such a decisive blow on the U.S. at Pearl Harbor. I won't go into the details, but one of the conclusions that I reached was that Admiral Chester Nimitz should have been fired for allowing the U.S. Navy to be caught with its pants down at Pearl Harbor. Almost thirty years later, as we read many references related to Midway, I came to respect Admiral Nimitz as a brilliant man and instinctive tactician. He was a calculated risk taker. His adversary, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, was also a brilliant man, but he was too cautious while the U.S. Navy pulled out all stops. This enabled the U.S. Navy to stay a step ahead of the Imperial Japanese Navy, leading to a history changing defeat at Midway.

I encourage you to visit our web site read more about the Battle of Midway. And feel free to comment on our blog if you have anything to add.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful 2009!