Visit to Midway Island June 4, 2008
This page has a five and a half minute, 83-photo slideshow of my visit to Midway Island with a Military Historical Tours group on June 4, 2008, the 66th anniversary of the battle that changed the course of WWII in the Pacific.
Midway Island is about 1200 miles from Honolulu, and our charter flight on a Continental B737-800 took almost 6 hours roundtrip. There was a ceremony to commemorate the American victory, and we were honored to have a veteran with us. He was Aviation Chief Ordnanceman Chuck Wheeler who was on the USS Enterprise.
Midway is difficult to visit. Less than 80 flights a year land there. On June 4, 2008 we had the place to ourselves.
Midway Atoll is composed of three islands: Sand Island (1,200 acres) where the runways are today, Eastern Island (334 acres) where the runways were in WWII, and Spit Island (6 acres).
Midway is now a National Wildlife Refuge. It is one of the "world's premier wildlife spectacles." The bird that rules Midway is the Laysan Albatross, affectionately known as the "Gooney Bird". Midway has a million of them!!
Photo Overview: After the ceremony at the airport hanger, there was a lei ceremony at the Battle of Midway Memorial. Then I took a boat to Sand Island where I observed the white-headed adult gooney birds feeding their brown-headed chicks by regurgitating food. The swarms of flying birds are not treatening like a Hitchcock movie, but are awe-inspiring.
There is a photo of a gooney bird skeleton with plastic inside. Adult birds eat plastic items in the ocean & bring them home to their chicks, who die if they eat too much plastic. Other photos: a dud gooney bird egg & a cracked tern egg.
A WWI tank was used in WWII as a mini bomb shelter. Back on Sand Island, the statue of the Gooney bird in front of the bowling alley seemed popular with chicks. These chicks will be fledglings in a few weeks hunting their own food, and one was practicing "flying" on the ground near the Naval Memorial.
There is a Japanese Memorial near the old Cable House. There in 1904 telegraph messages were relayed across the Pacific. A message could be sent around the world in 9 minutes. There is a piece of the original cable in the museum. There is also a piece of a WWII plane recently washed ashore that I used to end the show.
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