SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Two local veterans, 99-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Private 1st Class Edgar R. Fox and Naby Watertender 1st Class Julian Hodges, were honored at a ceremony in Honolulu, Hawaii, commemorating the Battle of Midway.
Fox returned to Springfield, Missouri, Friday, June 10.
“There is not enough time for me to sit here and tell you for the next two days what that trip was like,” said Fox. “There was another Navy veteran who was with me at the Battle of Midway. We were pampered for six or seven days.”
The Battle of Midway which lasted from June 4 to June 7 in 1942 in the Pacific Ocean, was a decisive battle during World War II and is regarded as the turning point of the war. Three Navy aircraft carriers – USS Enterprise (CV-6), USS Hornet (CV-8), and USS Yorktown (CV-5), as well as land-based bombers, defeated an Imperial Japanese force that featured four aircraft carriers of their own.
Leading up to the battle, Commander Joseph J. Rochefort and Lieutenant Commander Edwin T. Layton, intelligence officers at Combat Intelligence Unit, known as Station Hypo and located in Pearl Harbor, led radio deception operations resulting in vital information for Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, on the future location and objectives of the Imperial Japanese forces.
Fox said being back caused old memories to surface and said he was proud to be able to represent those who died in the Battle of Midway.
“I felt a lot of pride that I was invited back because I felt like I was representing the guys that made it possible for me to be there. Allowing me to tell what they did and why,” said Fox.
The ceremony featured a Hawaiian ‘Oli (chant) by Kahu (minister) Kordell Kekoa, as well as musical performances by The Texas Children’s Choir and COMPACFLT’s band.
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT), Adm. Samuel Paparo, Commissioner, American Battlefields Monuments Commission, Raymond D. Kemp Sr, and Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Cynthia Martinez, were in attendance and spoke during the event.
Paparo spoke on the importance of the alliance shared between the United States and Japan today.