Only two of ten F4F-4s from VF-8 managed to get back to USS Hornet after CAG

Stanhope Ring led the strike astray. Ensign Sheedy was one of them. (USN)

arm in the world, flying the best carrier-based fighter in the world. Against these

losses, the Japanese admitted loss of seven B5N2s and two A6M2s.

Major Parks’ citation reads: "For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous devotion

to duty as Squadron Commander for Marine Fighting Squadron TWO TWENTY ONE,

in action against enemy Japanese forces

during the Battle of Midway, June 4, 1942.

Leading his squadron in a dauntless and

aggressive attack against a vastly superior number of Japanese bomber and fighter planes, Major Parks aided in disruption

the plans of the enemy and lessening the

effectiveness of their attack, thereby contributing materially to the success of our

forces. As a result of his courageous and

daring tactics and because of the circumstances attendant upon this engagement,

there can be little doubt that Major Parks

gallantly gave up his life in the service

of his country. He displayed the characteristics of a fine leader and excellent

airman in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

Captain Phillip R. White complained

bitterly in his after-action report, writing:

“The F2A-3 is not a combat aircraft. It is

inferior to the planes we were fighting

in every respect. It is my belief that any commander who orders pilots out for combat in a F2A-3 should consider the pilot

as lost before leaving the ground.”

F4F-4s of Fighting Eight aboard USS Hornet ranged for takeoff. (USN)

blow at the enemy carriers. They were

the spearhead of our great victory. They

have written a new and shining page in the

annals of the Marine Corps."

Aboard the three American carriers cruising at “Point Luck,” the crews had been

awakened at 0130 hours and fed between

0300-0400 hours to give them time to prepare. Surprisingly, Yorktown, the only carrier of the three whose leaders had direct

combat experience, was held back in reserve while Enterprise and Hornet, which

had yet to engage an enemy carrier, were

assigned to make the maximum-effort


At 0534 hours the Catalina search plane

reported “Carriers sighted.” At 0553 hours

came the report, "Many planes heading

Midway." Finally, at 0603 hours, the Catalina reported "Two carriers and battleships

bearing 320 degrees, distance 180, course

135, speed 25." Quick calculations placed

the enemy fleet 175 miles west-southwest

of the Americans. In fact, the position report was incorrect; the enemy was now

200 miles away. Those extra miles would


At 0607 hours, Admiral Fletcher aboard

Yorktown ordered Spruance's two carriers

to attack. "Proceed southwesterly and

attack enemy carriers as soon as definitely located." Spruance considered that

while the reported range was extreme,

a strike could succeed. Chief of Staff Miles Browning determined that because

they would have to turn away to launch

that they should wait until 0700 hours, giving them an hour to close the distance

a further 25 miles, placing the enemy

about 155 miles distant. Spruance agreed

and Enterprise and Hornet began launching at 0656 hours. Where the Japanese had

launched 108 aircraft from four carriers in

only seven minutes, Enterprise and Hornet

Battle rages on

For their actions at Midway, the Marines

of MAG-22 were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Admiral Nimitz recognized the Marines' contribution to victory

at Midway as follows: "Please accept my

sympathy for the losses sustained by your

gallant aviation personnel based at Midway. Their sacrifice was not in vain. When

the great emergency came, they were

ready. They met, unflinchingly, the attack

of vastly superior numbers and made the

attack ineffective. They struck the first

October 2022

F4F-4 Wildcats and SBD-3 Dauntlesses of Air Group Six aboard USS Enterprise. (USN)

INFO Eduard