Maritime Heritage

Remembering the Battle of Midway

SBD Dauntless dive bombers approaching the burning Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma.
SBD "Dauntless" dive bombers from USS Hornet (CV-8) approaching the burning Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma to make the third set of attacks on her, during the early afternoon of 6 June 1942. Credit: Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection.

June 4-7, 2017 Marks the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway in 1942

One third of the way between Honolulu and Tokyo, Midway Atoll became a critical air and sea base during World War II. The Battle of Midway (June 4-7, 1942) was one of the most significant battles of the war, marking a major shift in the balance of power between the United States and Japan. The Japanese planned to assault and occupy the atoll in order to threaten an invasion of Hawaiʻi and draw the American naval forces that had survived the attack on Pearl Harbor out into an ambush against the brunt of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The courage and sacrifice of U.S. servicemen ensured that the tables were turned on the Japanese, who ended up ambushed themselves.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the Battle of Midway National Memorial commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle. To see and read more about the battle, please see our special historical site, "Remembering the Battle of Midway."

Click Here to learn about the 75th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Midway on June 5, 2017 (you will be directed to an external website).

Aerial view of Midway Atoll.
Aerial view of Midway Atoll. Credit: NARA

In May of 2017, a team of maritime archaeologists will be conducting two weeks of survey to explore the Midway Atoll seafloor for sunken remains from the Battle of Midway. Much of the famous air battle took place near the atoll, and the remnants of dozens of historic aircraft may rest beneath the surface. This project, funded by NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research, aims to explore and discover sunken aircraft sites that represent the heritage of the Battle of Midway. These sites help us better understand and interpret the human stories associated with this significant battle.