This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which is believed by many to be the turning point of World War II in the Pacific theater, and one of the seminal events in our Navy’s history.
Every year we commemorate the battle in which the toughness, initiative, integrity and accountability of American Sailors and Marines proved essential to the victory that changed the tide of the war in the Pacific and perhaps the course of world history.
Fought between June 4-7 of 1942, only six months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway was a decisive naval battle in the Pacific theater, inflicting devastating damage to the Japanese fleet, forcing them into a defensive posture for the remainder of the Pacific war.
The development of radar at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and its use during the battle played a key role in the Navy’s success at Midway. NRL’s research, advanced technology, experimentation and prototyping resulted in deploying the fleet’s first shipboard radar.
This new technology provided U.S. aircraft carriers with a timely, long-range warning of approaching Japanese aircraft. Japanese aircraft carriers at the Battle of Midway did not possess radar and therefore did not enjoy advanced warning of approaching U.S. aircraft. Radar, then a technology in its infancy, proved to be one of several technological advantages U.S forces possessed at Midway, perhaps second only to code breaking.