Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 — On world maps it is merely a dot that’s located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 miles west of the Hawaiian Islands. During World War II it was the site of a pivotal battle between the Japanese and American fleets, in which the Japanese fleet was mortally crippled. Midway Island was subject to heavy bombing from the Japanese before they withdrew from the battle.
Actually it isn’t an island; it’s an atoll, which is defined as a bit of land and lagoon surrounded by a coral reef. During the war it was a Navy base that provided a refueling depot for aircraft and a refueling and refitting base for U.S. submarines operating in the western Pacific Ocean. The atoll was a bleak, desolate piece of land, which could be circumnavigated by foot in about an hour.
Today it is a bird sanctuary and home to a great variety of seabirds including the Laysan albatross — nicknamed gooney birds by the sailors stationed there.
For the full Opinion and others, read the Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 edition of the Lassen County Times.