For six months after the Pearl Harbor attack, the United States struggled to defeat the Japanese Navy. But on June 7, 1942, the Battle of Midway was over and presented a glimmer of hope for Americans in the fight against the Japanese.
As the fighting continued, the United States became a formidable foe for the Japanese. Finally, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto decided it was time to hit the U.S. Navy with a fatal blow before becoming unbeatable.
He planned to create a trap by Midway island. However, the U.S. codebreakers intercepted the plot and formed a plan of their own. On June 3rd, the Japanese fleet was waiting right where the U.S. Navy thought they would be, and they attacked. The battle went on for four days.
First, the U.S. took out four Japanese carriers. With this move, the Americans stopped Yamamoto in his tracks and leveled the playing field in the Pacific.
But, this did not stop the two countries from trying to one-up each other. That continued until the Japanese surrendered. The Battle of Midway is a historic battle for the U.S. Navy.
Only Medal of Honor Recipient
While everyone fought hard for their country, only one man was given the Medal of Honor. Marine Captain Richard E. Fleming was a member of the Marine Scout Bomber Squadron 241. The crew went by the moniker Sons of Satan.
They had 16 Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless and 11 Vought SBU-3 Vindicator dive bombers. They led the attacks on the Japanese carriers on June 4th and lost quite a few of their own.
Fleming took many risks to ensure his targets were destroyed. In the first attack, he went in low for a better angle. The following day he led the attack on two damaged cruisers when the submarine USS Tambor caused them to collide.
He dropped in low to attack in this fight too. While attacking the HIJMS Mikuma, Flemming was shot down. However, his brave actions during the Battle of Midway helped move the needle in favor of the Americans.