The Battle of Midway
Arky's Tool Box
This is the story of my father's (WOI's) brief experience on Midway
Island, during the Battle of Midway as told to me (WGI) on 13 January 1996.
I have done some editing and rearranging, to improve the readability
and keep things in sequence. - WGI
WGI: You mentioned Midway one time.
WOI: Yeah. The Japanese fleet was steaming on Midway -- the
Battle of Midway is well known.
WGI: This is before that.
WOI: Yes. Just prior, just as they were steaming into
Midway. About a week or so [before], just whenever
they knew the attack was immanent they asked for
volunteers to go to Midway - a construction battalion
to go into Midway.
I just asked for volunteers from among my crew and said
who would go to Midway? I got plenty of volunteers.
WGI: I imagine that Mom was real pleased that you
WOI: <chuckle> Not too enthusiastic about it!
But anyway, we were supposed to board one of those
triple tailed transports. They was a pretty short
runway for it on Ford Island, especially when it was
loaded as heavy as it was. We got loaded there without
any event. It was loaded so heavy that when we got to
the end of the runway - it was a seaplane ramp - I felt
the plane sink a little bit as it was taking off over
the ramp. But anyway, we got into Midway without
We *just* got in there when all hell broke loose! They
told us to get away from the airplane and dig in. Hell,
you couldn't dig in on Midway because you were just
about 2 feet above sea level!
I remember I had a carpenter foreman there, he was from
Arkansas - we called him "Arky." While we were waiting
for the airplane on Ford Island he camouflaged his tool
box with camouflage colors like we had in Pearl Harbor.
We got in there [Midway Island] and here we were with
our noses down in a foxhole, right just above the water
line, and here was this tool box shining out there with
all kinds of greens on the white sands of Midway!
Arky said, "Aren't you glad I camouflaged my tool box?"
I said, "Jackass! Cover it with sand!!"
WOI: We weren't hurt.
WGI: You didn't stay there long, I take it?
WOI: No, we were there just two, two and a half days. The
[Japanese] fleet was turned back. They set fire to the
hospital so we had to do a little bit of work [there].
But it was a useless trip as far as we were concerned.
We couldn't do that much work or that much good. So
they flew us back to Pearl Harbor.
Copyright © 1996 by William G. Innanen. All rights reserved.
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