The Battle of Midway, fought between June 4th and 7th, 1942, was arguably the turning point in the fight against Japan during WWII. To mark the 72nd anniversary of this seminal naval battle, the Pacific Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii recently held a seminar entitled “FORTRESS OVER MIDWAY”. Featuring the museum’s curator, author Burl Burlingame and its restoration manager, Jim Martinelli, the presentation focused on the role played by Boeing’s B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber during the battle. Burlingame’s lecture, entitled “Flying Fortresses Over Midway”, presented the historical details surrounding the B-17’s involvement in the Battle of Midway.
Following the question and answer session which capped off Burlingame’s talk, the audience moved on to Hangar 79 for a special presentation by Mr. Martinelli, and behind-the-scenes look at the restoration progress on the Museum’s Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress—the famous “Swamp Ghost”.
“Swamp Ghost”, recovered from her crash site in a New Guinea swamp eight years ago, has only recently been reassembled again. Currently, the aircraft is on display outdoors, but the museum really needs to get her inside soon to prevent any further decay. They are currently raising money to erect a new hangar to house the magnificent aircraft, shot down on one of the first US air raids during the war in February, 1942. To see what you can do to help, please click HERE.
Guests at the seminar got to have a close-up look at the “Swamp Ghost”. Also on display in Hangar 79 was an 8 x 12 foot mural painted by Victor Nels Solander of the 123rd U.S. Naval Construction Battalion, whose Seabee unit was stationed on Midway from June 1st, 1944 to December 16th, 1945. The mural was one of six donated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The murals are a valuable insight as to what existed during Midway, and examples of popular folk art of WWII,” stated Mr. Burlingame.
Click HERE to see more pictures of this event.