Official newsletter of the Battle of Midway Roundtable


"To promote awareness and understanding of the great battle and to honor the men who fought and won it."


1 May 2005....................Issue No. 2005-17....................Our 8th Year


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.............................................. AROUND THE TABLE ...............................................






1.  Waldron as CHAG?

2.  BOM Media Comments

3.  San Diego Area Air Show

4.  BOM Vets Wanted for Washington, DC Forum

5.  New Senior Member of the Roundtable


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"Waldron as CHAG?"   (see issue 5-16)


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25 April 2005

From:  Robert Cressman


    As to Waldron's being slated to be CHAG [commander of the Hornet air group, instead of Stanhope Ring], there's nothing in his statement of service dated September 1942 to indicate that was contemplated.  If that exists, it may be in some CINCPAC-related messages.  Other than Bill Price's e-mail message, I'd never heard of Waldron's fleeting up to CHAG as being in the wind, although that was possible.  Both Ring and Waldron received their respective jobs (CHAG and CO, VT-8) in the summer of 1941.

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    Robert Cressman heads the Ships History Branch at the Naval Historical Center in Washington, and was the lead author on A Glorious Page In Our History.


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"BOM Media Comments"   (see issue 5-16)


    Ed. note:  thanks to all who have responded to my request for pro & con reviews of the various selections on our "Midway Library" web page.  Here's one from Mac Showers that I thought was particularly insightful and important.


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25 April 2005

From:  Mac Showers   (BOM vet, Combat Intelligence Unit, Pearl Harbor)


    The impersonation of CDR Joseph J. Rochefort in the 1976 Midway movie could not have been more completely opposite his true character.  The mustachioed, cigar-smoking, loud-mouth, red-neck type portrayed by Hal Holbrook was totally out of character.   Joe Rochefort was clean-shaven, occasionally smoked a pipe at his desk, was quiet-mannered and soft-spoken--a gentleman in all respects.

    He also was NOT an eccentric as indicated in many instances.  In the basement where we worked, it was cold and damp due to overly effective, non-dehumidifying air conditioning, and everyone who spent hours on end in that environment had to add clothing for comfort.  Rochefort wore a burgundy corduroy smoking jacket and lined bedroom slippers only when on duty in HYPO spaces.  He was always in proper uniform when he left the space.  Thanks for the opportunity to comment on this.

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"San Diego Area Air Show"   (see issue 5-15)


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30 April 2005

From:  Roy Gee   (BOM vet, SBD pilot, VB-8, USS Hornet)


    I want you to know that Air Group One does it right when they put on a program to focus on BOM veterans and the aircraft that were flown in that battle.  Of course, all other WWII veterans and aircraft are recognized, but in this case they take a back seat.  Yesterday myself and Mr. Kenneth Weaver, who was an AMM1c on the USS Enterprise, were the honored BOM veterans. We sat on the stage with other VIPs and were recognized in the opening ceremony.  We both had VIP treatment throughout the day.

    The BOM aircraft had been flown in and were in magnificent flying shape.  The types were:  SBD Dauntless, F4F Wildcat, TBM Avenger (General Motors production of TBF), B-17 Flying Fortress, Zero Japanese fighter.  They had been placed on a viewing line that afforded viewers a close inspection.

    I was interviewed in front of a large audience while sitting on stage.  I was asked to comment on my memories of the BOM, why the Hornet scout/ bombers failed to find the IJN in the morning, how the four Japanese carriers were sunk, what happened to the torpedo squadrons, and to compare our aircraft capabilities with the those of the Japanese.

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    Roy tells me that on the following day (Saturday), Roundtable member and PBY pilot Gale Burkey was one of the honored BOM veteran guests.  Gale provided a different view of the battle for the audience, from the perspective of one who flew from the atoll itself.

    Roy took several photos of the aircraft on display.  Here are two of them, of the SBD and the Zero (and that's a real Zero, by the way, not a replica).  Roy said it gave him a bit of a chill to see that thing land and taxi up close to him.  URLs for the photos:


    Also, here's a writeup on the event from the San Diego newspaper.  And don't cringe when they talk about an F6F Hellcat being one of the BOM planes on hand--it was really an F4F.


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"BOM Vets Wanted for Washington, DC Forum"


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27 April 2005

From:  Lt. Col. Robert Shaw, USMC-Ret


Dear Mr. Russell:

    Thank you for your offer to assist us.  As a summary, I am the Secretary of The Army and Navy Club (ANC) of Washington, DC and a member of our Special Events Committee that organizes, among other things, forums of general interest to our members.

    During 2005, the ANC had or is planning forums to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII.  We’ve had very successful forums on the Battle of the Bulge and Iwo Jima and are exploring one for the Battle of Midway.

    The forums like this that have been best received by our members are those in which survivors of the battles appear and speak about their personal experiences.  For example, in the Battle of the Bulge forum we had six survivors (including the fellow who proposed the “Nuts!” reply used by General McAuliffe – a former ANC President).

    Frankly, I am having trouble finding [BOM veterans] who could participate in the forum.  I have contacted General Earl E. Anderson, USMC (Ret.), who was in the Marine Detachment aboard the Yorktown and he is enthusiastic about participating.  His memory is sharp and I am sure he would be an outstanding participant.

    Right now, the program we are thinking about is:

15 minutes: An authority on the battle (such as you) to act as a moderator to set the scene leading up to the battle; the battle itself; and its significance to the outcome of the war in the Pacific.

20 – 25 minutes:  About four [BOM veterans], like General Anderson, talk for about 5-7 minutes about their personal experiences during the battle. 

5 minutes:  The moderator summarizes the presentation

10 – 15 minutes: Question and answer period.

All of the above is negotiable and subject to change.  The forums usually last about one hour.  We have been making videos of these forums for posterity and the benefit of future researchers.  The videos are stored in our Library.

    Our forums usually are held on Thursday evenings starting at 6:30 with a 15 minute “meet and greet” and wine/soda/cheese/crackers.  Afterwards, we would provide dinner for the speakers and a guest for each.  At this time, it looks like the forum would be given on August 18 or 25 but this is very tentative.

    Could you give me contact information for any Battle of Midway [veterans] who live in proximity to Washington, DC and who may be representative and willing to participate as speakers at this forum?

    Thank you in advance for any assistance given in this matter.

Robert W. Shaw

Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.)


The Army and Navy Club

Phone: 202.628.8400 Ext. 367

Fax: 202.785.2481


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    The above event is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, 18 or 25 August 2005.  If you would like to attend or would like more info, contact Lt. Col. Shaw as shown above.  You might also pass this info to other BOM vets you may know who might be interested in this forum.  Among our members so far, I'm aware that RADM Mac Showers has agreed to participate, and Robert Cressman will also be there.


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"New Senior Member of the Roundtable"   (see issue 5-16)


    To all:  one of the unavoidable realities in an association focused on men in their eighties and nineties is that every once in a while one of them suddenly departs on his final sortie.  I think we all accept that fact, however reluctantly.

    But even with that prior understanding, I was unprepared for the e-mail message I received last Monday from the son of our newest and most senior member, CAPT H. Hart Kait.  With deep regret, I have to announce that Captain Kait passed away on Sunday, 24 April, only three days after joining the Roundtable with a certain enthusiasm.  His one and only e-mail message to us appears below, and from it you could guess that he might outlive most of us.  Despite his advanced years, his sudden passing was wholly unexpected and thus all the more saddening.

    I'm sure that Captain Kait will be remembered for a great many wonderful things that marked his long and productive life.  But on the Roundtable we'll especially remember the gunnery officer on the destroyer USS Monaghan who gave up his stateroom for a wounded enlisted radioman from VT-3, ARM3/c Lloyd Childers.

    Here is his message to the Roundtable.  Fair winds and following seas, sir....


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21 April 2005

From:  CAPT H. Hart Kait, USN-Ret


    Hello RW:   Am pleased to have your invitation to join up.  I will keep searching my films and files for Midway and particularly for the Yorktown.  Last night I spent 4 hours going through thousand films taken after PH but did not find any relevant to M or Y but I have patience and will open more boxes and albums.

     Let's keep in touch.  Must get ready to teach my fencing class at the YMCA for kids and grownups--now in 41st year.

                                        Best wishes,    Hart Kait

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................................................. NOW HEAR THIS! ..................................................






--Victory In the Pacific on PBS Monday, 2 May

--Anniversary Observance Aboard USS Midway, San Diego

--Movie Review:  A Wing and a Prayer

--First Anniversary for the Forum


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    Check your local listings for "The American Experience: Victory in the Pacific" scheduled for Monday night, 2 May, at 9:00 PM.  It is said to cover approximately the last year of the war from the capture of the Marianas to Hirohito's surrender broadcast.  (Thanks to Tim Maurice for the notification.)


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    At this late date, details remain obscure as to what's planned for the 63rd BOM anniversary commemoration aboard the USS Midway (CV-41) in San Diego.  There is an event scheduled on the evening of Friday, 3 June from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, but that's all I've been able to learn so far, except for the fact that the Association of Naval Aviation, which is having a four-day convention that week, will be on board at that time.

    If any of our members can provide better information on what is apparently the only major BOM observance in southern California, please pass the word.  We should know to what extent the proceedings are open to the public, what is expected of attendees, and what sort of agenda is planned.  COMNAVAIRPAC was very active last year in enlisting participation by BOM vets--if anything like that is happening this year, the news hasn't yet arrived here.

    The BOMRT is a very enthusiastic supporter of BOM commemoration events, so we'd very much like to be on the notification list for any command or group planning such activities.


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    A Wing and a Prayer (1944, starring Don Ameche and Dana Andrews) has not previously appeared in our "Midway Library" listing because it's rarely been mentioned by our members and I hadn't previously seen it.  But it's been showing up in some of your feedback to my recent request for comments on our "Library" selections, so I invested in a copy from Amazon and watched it for the first time last week.

    This is a very interesting BOM-related film that I can highly recommend to all, although not for the reasons you might expect.  If you're looking for accuracy in detail, it's actually worse than Midway (1976)--wrong planes, wrong attack scenes, wrong squadrons, and wrong, unidentified, or curiously missing ships (both U.S. and Japanese).  Worse, there are more fictional characters than in Midway.  But what you have to remember is that in 1944 the specifics of the BOM were still largely unknown to the general public (including movie producers), plus wartime security restrictions prevented revealing much of the detail we now take for granted, especially the names of the personalities.  Consequently, when we see Avengers and Helldivers from an Essex-class CV blowing away only three Japanese carriers (Akagi is a no-show in the movie), and absolutely no mention of reading the Japanese naval code, perhaps we can understand.

    But its production during the war itself is actually what makes this a great BOM film.  You get the authentic feel of the times by watching rather good actors portray characters and events that, to them, are contemporary.  There is no misrepresentation of wartime social or moral values that inevitably creeps in to movies produced in other eras, like Midway and Pearl Harbor.  You are watching scenes and hearing dialogue that is as close to the real thing as you're likely to ever experience.  This is a movie about the Battle of Midway that has most of the details quite wrong, yet you definitely don't feel disappointed when it ends.

    I have now added this film to the Midway Library page on our web site.  Used copies of the commercial VHS tape seem to be readily available for less than $10 (I paid about $6.50 for mine with shipping).  A DVD version is also available.


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    We have now been operating the Roundtable in its current mode for one year.  Most of you will recall that shortly after dropping the daily e-mail format, we did a comprehensive survey in order judge how well our members were being served.  The Roundtable Forum has evolved in accordance to responses to that survey--a weekly electronic newsletter in a simple e-mail form, augmented by a wealth of images and documents on our web site.

    One of the recommendations from last year's survey is that we repeat it each year, on the anniversary of the first issue of the Forum, to ensure that the Roundtable continues to operate in a manner that its members desire.  So, here's your invitation to let me know (a) how we're doing in general, (b) what we should be doing better, and (c) what new feature or subject matter should be added to our efforts.  All ideas and suggestions are welcome.

    If you've saved past issues of the Forum or if you have our 2nd Edition Archive CD, check issue 2004-19 for last year's survey--it might help you formulate some new recommendations.


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    For a glossary of abbreviations, acronyms, and terms used in The Roundtable Forum, click the following URL or go to our home page and click "The Roundtable Glossary" link.




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