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!!"

Both: <laughter>

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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