There are plenty of good reasons to commemorate the Battle of Midway. It’s a big part of what the Navy is, a shining moment in the service’s history and one of the most significant battles of the 20th century. Historian John Keegan called it “as great a reversal in strategic fortune as the naval world has ever seen.” I just hope that in remembering it we don’t ever forget Sailors like Pete Montalvo.
I talked a little about Pete in a Midway speech last year. He was an aviation ordnanceman who manned an antiaircraft-gun mount on board the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) during the battle. Pete abandoned ship with thousands of others after two Japanese torpedoes had slammed into the carrier, and he would go on to live a long and productive life.
It was guys like Pete who won the war for us, and we ought to take at least a minute or two to remember what they did. They were heroes, shipmates, brothers even. And, if you ask me, they are the most important reason of all to pause and reflect on the victory at Midway.