It seemed like looking for the proverbial haystack needle, but a Navy Deep Submergence Unit proved instrumental in finding a U.S. carrier sunk during the turning-point Pacific battle of World War II.
In the annals of war, historians can point to many well-defined turning points. For a demoralized and outgunned U.S. Pacific Fleet in World War II, the battle that began on the morning of 4 June 1942 proved to be one of those shifts in the tide. That day, a massive Japanese force steamed toward the tiny, isolated atoll of Midway. If Midway were lost, the battle for the Pacific might be lost as well. Admiral Chester Nimitz could not let that happen. To block the Japanese offensive, Nimitz took a gamble and dispatched the tattered remnants of his fleet to Midway. The move paid off. The combined force of three remaining U.S. carriers in the Pacific—the Enterprise (CV-6), the Hornet (CV-8), and the Yorktown (CV-5)—and a cruiser-destroyer battle group was enough to defeat the Japanese ships arrayed against them. The Yorktown and the Hammann (DD-412), the U.S. destroyer group flagship, paid the ultimate price.