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PEARL HARBOR - U.S. Pacific Fleet staff gathered to pay tribute to naval heroes during the commemoration ceremony at Pearl Harbor headquarters, marking the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, June 7.
"It was a combination of intelligence, tactics, courage and sacrifice that forever changed the course of the war and world history," said keynote speaker Rear Adm. Paul Becker, Special Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence. "That's impart why we gather together and recount this story in early June every year to remember Midway; to reinforce our identities as thinkers, fighters and as winners."
The Midway victory, fought June 4-7, 1942, was widely considered one of the turning points of the war in the Pacific. In May 1942, intelligence experts at the Combat Intelligence Unit at Pearl Harbor, known as Station Hypo, intercepted nearly 1,000 Japanese radio messages per day and deciphered and translated about 25 percent of them.
They provided Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz with information that the Imperial Japanese Navy intended to attack the Midway Atoll. Acting on this intelligence, naval forces were able to deliver a decisive blow, driving the enemy back, which ultimately resulting in their surrender Sept. 2, 1945.
As the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Scott Swift now fills the same role as Nimitz and recounts the importance of learning from history.
"This is much more than about history," Swift said during the ceremony. "I frequently raise in my discussions with the staff and the fleet about being predictive and thoughtful rather than be descriptive and reactionary.
"Nimitz was predictive and thoughtful," Swift added. "He took incredible strategic risk when he committed to the intelligence he had and he trusted in his intelligence officers and task force commanders to make the decisions necessary to turn the tide in the battle of the Pacific."