Roundtable Forum
Our 25th Year
September 2022

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
BOM-80 in Hawaii and Midway
VS-6 Pilot Eldor Rodenburg
Book Review: Nimitz at War
Now hear this!

The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Welcome to the September issue of the Battle of Midway RoundTable.  If you haven't yet sent in a note on what the Battle of Midway RoundTable has meant to you, please do so.  We'll include all submissions in the next issue.

This month we have a report from Ed Fox on his trip to Midway for the 80th Celebration, another note about Halsey and how the battle would have changed if he was in charge, and a book review.



Several years back, it was normal for virtually every newsletter to include messages from some of the many BOM vets on our roster—about 60 at the peak. Regrettably, the inexorable advance of time has made such messages rare, so we’re always delighted to receive one and get it posted. Midway Marine Ed Fox has long been one of our most prolific veteran contributors, and we’re very pleased to feature two more messages from him on the subject of his escorted visits to Hawaii and Midway for BOM-80.

7 August 2022
From: Ed Fox
BOM vet, 6th MarDefBn, Midway

Good evening, Ron:

Hope you are in good health and staying active....that's the key, trying to stay active.

After returning from the 80th, I came down with minor Covid-19 symptoms. Fortunately, I had had all my vaccine and boosters, so I was not too worried with exception of staying isolated for 5 days.

[During the 80th anniversary], the days on Midway and the ceremonies in the Punch Bowl were very emotional for both Julian Hodges, Yorktown survivor, myself, and the public present. I do not think any other event could have surpassed the outpouring of appreciation for the veterans of both Dec. 7th and Battle of Midway. I consider myself very lucky.
Edgar R Fox USMC/ARMY-Ret
Midway - Iwo - Korea
Life Member: Marine Corps League 993, American Legion 639

“For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste that the protected will never know.”
Ed continued with a second message summarizing his BOM-80 visits to Hawaii and Midway.

12 August 2022

Reflections on the 80th anniversary of the BOM:

Ron, I have been privileged to be invited back to Midway often. 2012 was my first return, since then several more.

This 80th anniversary I was escorted from my front door by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Rebecca G. Chuck beginning on 1 June. I was not aware at the beginning, I was to fly first class round trip, arranged by the Friends of Midway Atoll, a Helen Dunlap contribution in honor of her husband Frank Dunlap, stationed on Midway 4 June 1942. All the bumps and hiccups in-flight to and return were deep-sixed by Rebecca. She ran front guard 24/7.

Upon arrival in Honolulu, a prearranged chauffeur greeted us, whisking us off to the Ala Moana where reservations awaited us. One day was spent for preparation to Signature Air Terminal. Upon arrival at Signature, all nine of us began the familiar [Covid] nose testing before flight.

Our flight was in a Falcon 500, cruising around 380 at near 40,000. The pilot, prior Army; the co-ditto a young lady. One lands at night on Midway without lights; tiny red LEDs the length of the runway on each side.

On the fourth of June, a ceremony was held at the Memorial where the entire island population (40?) approached the Memorial to cast a flower at the base. I was able to render my appreciation to the men that made it possible for me to be there that day.

I met so many FWS personnel that are dedicated to guarding our BOM Monument besides their own responsible duties. I was in trouble rendering my thanks—there were many tugs at the heart as we departed Sand Island.

Back to Honolulu in this executive jet (jokingly, “The Plush Red Eye”), to the Ala Moana to prepare for the ceremony in the Punch Bowl on the 7th.

Both Julian and I were taken aback by the preparations that we were to be part of. I am not literate enough to place on paper how I was feeling during this service, especially during the soloist singing, “The Last Full Measure of Devotion.” A month prior to this event I was privileged to be asked by FWS Miss Amanda Boyd, Deputy Director of Papahanaumokuakea Marine Wildlife Refuge, if I had an idea/contribution for the ceremony. I did mention I often used “The Last full Measure of Devotion” in my school presentations here in Springfield.

I was incredibly surprised to see that song in the itinerary for the service that day, thanks to Amanda. During the rendition Julian and I were so moved, we clasped hands. There were many reaching for Kleenex.

The children’s choir gathered around Julian and me. A young handicapped girl from the choir came up to us—Miss Thill, in a wheelchair pushed by a choir member. Miss Thill had a relative involved in the Battle of Midway. Her mother and teacher had assisted her with a poem that she read to me. The 3-star Marine next to me gripped my shoulder when she asked if she could hold my hand for a minute.

How can you express your feelings, when you know you are one of the lucky ones that returned at the cost of so many that covered your back? I try to tell the kids in school what they did and why.

There were several Navy functions where we were piped on board. If Rebecca was not on by my side, an admiral or general was. There was a restricted area Pearl Harbor tour for us to the BB Utah and a ceremony on board the Missouri.

Final night at the Pacific Air Museum with a grand reception for Julian and me, or actually for the guys that made it possible for us to represent them.

I was returned to my Springfield, Missouri quarters on June 9th, feeling humbled that I was given this privilege by so many participants, sponsored by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service.

Semper Fi
For more on the events described by Ed, see our June newsletter:

Ed Fox on Midway, 1942   Ed in 2003. Note insignia from his service in Korea with the 82nd Airborne.

Ed at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, with USF&WS escort Rebecca Chuck. (Nice book, Ed.)

Yorktown vet Julian Hodges, Rebecca Chuck, Ed Fox; at the PH Aviation Museum.

Ed at the BOM memorial plaque on Midway, 4 June 2022

The Roundtable was especially well represented on Midway for the 75th anniversary in 2017, with the presence of Midway Marines John Miniclier and Ed Fox.


Our articles concerning the views of Admiral Halsey in the July and August newsletters prompted this contribution from the son of VS-6 pilot Eldor Rodenburg.

4 September 2022
From: Dennis Rodenburg

My dad, SBD pilot Eldor Rodenburg, flew wing on Dusty Kleiss at Midway on June 4th and the Tanikazi attack the next night. He talked about the war to me a lot over the years.

Dad came out of his last combat tour in November 1944 with 9 battle stars, so had considerable firsthand experience to tell me about. He always thought Halsey to be reckless, over-aggressive and was thankful Spruance was in charge at Midway. He told me, “If it had been Halsey, they’d all be dead.”

I think Dad formed his opinion after so many pilots were lost from his air group during his 8-month war tour on the Bunker Hill [CV-17]. He got to know all of them. Another favorite comment from Dad was that the F4F was only designed to fly around the carriers to protect the admirals. He was very happy when the F6F appeared. He also said the admirals eventually got smart and made their flagship on battleships instead of a dangerous carrier. He liked to say they would sit under 16 inches of armor and yell, “Go get ’em.”

Dad spent 3 weeks with VB-6 on Guadalcanal during the “October Crisis.” He did agree that Halsey, with his “buddies” Scott, and Callaghan, turned the tide in that one.

My hindsight opinion is that all the Midway torpedoes should have been thrown overboard and the TBDs loaded with bombs for the possible Midway invasion defense.

I consider Dad authorized to have his opinions since he was there. His DFC hangs on my office wall.
We always appreciate a chance to read or hear the words of a BOM veteran, whether directly or indirectly like the message above. Of course, in this case, one might quickly argue that that the design of the F4F had a lot more to do with the limits of aircraft engineering in the 1930s, and that the choice of fast BBs late in the war as fleet flagships was predicated on factors like superior mobility and communications resources more than amor plate. But such arguments are mainly irrelevant; our BOM veterans formed their opinions from their own personal experiences and influences in the real world as they lived it, and we’re fortunate that we can learn about them here.

Check the following link for a VS-6 group photo showing ENS Rodenburg in the back row, #7 from the left. Dusty Kleiss is in the front row, #2 from the right:



The subtitle for Craig Symonds’ latest major offering is “Command Leadership from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay”—the story of Admiral Nimitz from his first day as CINCPAC until that monumental day in 1945 aboard BB-63 in Tokyo Bay. That may place it a little outside the Roundtable’s normal scope, since Midway is but one element in a vastly larger story, but Chester Nimitz was so essential to how the BOM was planned and executed that this in-depth look at his war years deserves some comment here.

The book is not simply a biography of Nimitz—that’s been done with other books, especially E. B. Potter’s Nimitz (2008). Instead, Symonds goes deep into the exasperating task of managing the Pacific war while dealing with a host of complex and volatile personalities: King, MacArthur, Halsey, Mitscher, Towers, Marine general H. M. Smith, AAF generals Arnold and LeMay, and assorted administration officials in Washington who had the bad habit of showing up uninvited at CINCPAC headquarters, expecting to be briefed as well as quartered and entertained by the admiral himself!

All of that made for a set of circumstances that could have led to disaster with the wrong person in charge. Fortunately, Nimitz turned out to be exactly the right person; very much like Eisenhower who had to juggle a similar array of challenges in the ETO. Symonds boils it all down perfectly in his new book with this one-sentence summary of Nimitz as CINCPAC: “Though he never conned a ship, dropped a bomb, or stormed a beach, he was the essential element of American victory in the Central Pacific campaign.”

The book is a hefty hardback, about 480 pages and well illustrated with campaign charts and many photos of the key personalities that aided or sometimes obstructed Nimitz’ conduct of the Pacific war. A solid five stars.


Next month we will mark an anniversary that very few websites can match: it was 25 years ago, October 1997, that the Battle of Midway Roundtable made its Internet debut as an addition to the marvelous BOM site hosted by Chris Hawkinson. To commemorate the occasion, our October newsletter will feature commentary by our members about the Roundtable itself; how it has delivered on its stated goals of preserving the true history of the great battle and honoring the men who fought it.

We have received a large number of such comments over the past few months and will have them all in the October newsletter. If you haven’t yet sent in your own thoughts on our silver anniversary, there’s still time: please do, we’d love to hear from you whether you’re a new member or you’ve been with us since Bill Price had the helm. Send your comments to our email address below, and thank you in advance.

—Thom Walla, editor and webmaster
—Ron Russell, contributing editor

The Battle of Midway Roundtable