Midway Atoll

Midway Atoll (colloquial: Midway Islands; Hawaiian: Pihemanu Kauihelani) is a 2.4-square-mile (6.2 km2) atoll in the North Pacific Ocean at 28°12′N 177°21′W / 28.200°N 177.350°WCoordinates: 28°12′N 177°21′W / 28.200°N 177.350°W. Midway is roughly equidistant between North America and Asia. Midway Atoll is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States. Midway continues to be the only island in the Hawaiian archipelago that is not part of the state of Hawaii.[1] Unlike the other Hawaiian islands, Midway observes Samoa Time (UTC−11:00, i.e., eleven hours behind Coordinated Universal Time), which is one hour behind the time in the state of Hawaii. For statistical purposes, Midway is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. The Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, encompassing 590,991.50 acres (239,165.77 ha)[2] of land and water in the surrounding area, is administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The refuge and most of its surrounding area are part of the larger Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Until 1993, the atoll was the home of the Naval Air Facility Midway Island. The Battle of Midway, which was fought between June 4 and 6, 1942, was a critical Allied victory of the Pacific campaign of World War II. The United States Navy successfully defended the atoll from a Japanese invasion, defeating a Japanese battle group, marking a turning point in the war in the Pacific Theater. USAAF aircraft based at the original Henderson Field on Eastern Island joined the attack against the Japanese fleet, which suffered losses of four carriers and one heavy cruiser.

Approximately 40 to 60 people live on the atoll, which includes staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and contract workers. Visitation to the atoll is possible only for business reasons (which includes permanent and temporary staff, contractors and volunteers) as the tourism program has been suspended due to budget cutbacks. In 2012, the last year that the visitor program was in operation, 332 people made the trip to Midway.[3][4][5][6][7] Tours focused on both the unique ecology of Midway as well as its military history. The economy is derived solely from governmental sources and tourist fees. Nearly all supplies must be brought to the island by ship or plane, though a hydroponic greenhouse and garden supply some fresh fruits and vegetables.

Unincorporated U.S. Territory
Anthem: "The Star-Spangled Banner"
Satellite image of Midway Atoll
Satellite image of Midway Atoll
Unincorporated U.S. Territory is located in Pacific Ocean
Unincorporated U.S. Territory
Unincorporated U.S. Territory
The Midway Atoll on the map
Coordinates: 28°12′36″N 177°22′34″W / 28.2101°N 177.3761°W
CountryUnited States
Country subdivisionUnited States Minor Outlying Islands
Claimed by U.SAugust 28, 1867
 • Total25.6 sq mi (66.3 km2)
 • Land2.4 sq mi (6.2 km2)
 • Lagoon23.2 sq mi (60.1 km2)
 • Total0
 • Estimate 
 • Density0.0/sq mi (0.0/km2)
Time zoneSamoa Time (UTC−11:00)
Hawaiianislandchain USGS
Map showing the location of Midway Atoll in the Hawaiian island chain


As its name suggests, Midway is roughly equidistant between North America and Asia, and lies almost halfway around the world longitudinally from Greenwich, UK. It is near the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, about one-third of the way from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Tokyo, Japan. Midway island is not considered part of the State of Hawaii due to the passage of the Hawaii Organic Act, which formally annexed Hawaii to the United States as a territory, only defined Hawaii as "the islands acquired by the United States of America under an Act of Congress entitled 'Joint resolution to provide for annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States,' approved July seventh, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight." Although it could be argued that Midway became part of Hawaii when Middlebrooks discovered it in 1859, it was assumed at the time that Midway was independently acquired by the U.S. when Reynolds visited in 1867, and so was not considered part of the Territory.

In defining which islands the State of Hawaii would inherit from the Territory, the Hawaii Admissions Act clarified the question, specifically excluding Midway (along with Palmyra Island, Johnston Island, and Kingman Reef) from the jurisdiction of the state.[8]

Midway Atoll is approximately 140 nautical miles (259 km; 161 mi) east of the International Date Line, about 2,800 nautical miles (5,200 km; 3,200 mi) west of San Francisco, and 2,200 nautical miles (4,100 km; 2,500 mi) east of Tokyo.

Geography and geology

Island acres hectares
Sand Island 1,117 452
Eastern Island 336 136
Spit Island 15 6
Total land 1,549 627
Submerged reef/ocean 580,392 234,876


Midway Atoll is part of a chain of volcanic islands, atolls, and seamounts extending from Hawaii up to the tip of the Aleutian Islands and known as the Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain. It consists of a ring-shaped barrier reef nearly five miles in diameter[10] and several sand islets. The two significant pieces of land, Sand Island and Eastern Island, provide a habitat for millions of seabirds. The island sizes are shown in the table above. The atoll, which has a small population (approximately 60 in 2014,[11] but no indigenous inhabitants), is designated an insular area under the authority of the United States Department of the Interior.

Midway was formed roughly 28 million years ago when the seabed underneath it was over the same hotspot from which the Island of Hawaii is now being formed. In fact, Midway was once a shield volcano, perhaps as large as the island of Lana'i. As the volcano piled up lava flows building the island, its weight depressed the crust and the island slowly subsided over a period of millions of years, a process known as isostatic adjustment.

As the island subsided, a coral reef around the former volcanic island was able to maintain itself near sea level by growing upwards. That reef is now over 516 feet (157 m) thick[12] (in the lagoon, 1,261 feet (384 m), comprised mostly post-Miocene limestones with a layer of upper Miocene (Tertiary g) sediments and lower Miocene (Tertiary e) limestones at the bottom overlying the basalts). What remains today is a shallow water atoll about 6 miles (9.7 km) across. Following Kure Atoll, Midway is the 2nd most northerly atoll in the world.


The atoll has some 20 miles (32 km) of roads, 4.8 miles (7.7 km) of pipelines, one port on Sand Island (World Port Index Nr. 56328, MIDWAY ISLAND), and an airfield. As of 2004, Henderson Field airfield at Midway Atoll, with its one active runway (rwy 06/24, around 8,000 feet (2,400 m) long) has been designated as an emergency diversion airport for aircraft flying under ETOPS rules. Although the FWS closed all airport operations on November 22, 2004, public access to the island was restored from March 2008.[13]

Eastern Island Airstrip is a disused airfield which was in use by U.S. forces during the Battle of Midway. It is mostly constructed of Marston Mat and was built by the United States Navy Seabees.

360 degree panoramic view of the low-lying landscape of Eastern Island, Midway Atoll
360 degree panoramic view of the low-lying landscape of Eastern Island, Midway Atoll


Despite being located at 28°12'N which is north of the Tropic of Cancer, Midway Atoll has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw)[14] with very pleasant year-round temperatures. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, with only two months being able to be classified as dry season months (May and June).


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201440[16]

Midway has no indigenous inhabitants and was uninhabited until the 19th century.

19th century

The atoll was sighted on July 5, 1859, by Captain N.C. Middlebrooks, commonly known as Captain Brooks, of the sealing ship Gambia. The islands were named the "Middlebrook Islands" or the "Brook Islands". Brooks claimed Midway for the United States under the Guano Islands Act of 1856, which authorized Americans to occupy uninhabited islands temporarily to obtain guano. There is no record of any attempt to mine guano on the island. On August 28, 1867, Captain William Reynolds of the USS Lackawanna formally took possession of the atoll for the United States;[17] the name changed to "Midway" some time after this. The atoll was the first Pacific island annexed by the United States, as the Unincorporated Territory of Midway Island, and was administered by the United States Navy.

Starr 080531-4733 Midway Island Cable station building (nb 643) in May 2008 with cocos nucifera
The buildings of the Commercial Pacific Cable Company date back to 1903 (2008).

The first attempt at settlement was in 1871, when the Pacific Mail Steamship Company started a project of blasting and dredging a ship channel through the reef to the lagoon using money put up by the United States Congress. The purpose was to establish a mid-ocean coaling station to avoid the high taxes imposed at ports controlled by the Hawaiians. The project was shortly a complete failure, and the USS Saginaw evacuated the last of the channel project's work force in October 1871. The ship ran aground at Kure Atoll, stranding everyone. All were rescued, with the exception of four of the five persons who sailed to Kauai in an open boat to seek help.

Early 20th century

Aerial view of Midway Atoll on 24 November 1941 (80-G-451086)
Midway Atoll in November 1941, looking west

In 1903, workers for the Commercial Pacific Cable Company took up residence on the island as part of the effort to lay a trans-Pacific telegraph cable. These workers introduced many non-native species to the island, including the canary, cycad, Norfolk Island pine, she-oak, coconut, and various deciduous trees; along with ants, cockroaches, termites, centipedes, and countless others.

On January 20, 1903, the United States Navy opened a radio station in response to complaints from cable company workers about Japanese squatters and poachers. Between 1904 and 1908, President Roosevelt stationed 21 Marines on the island to end wanton destruction of bird life and keep Midway safe as a U.S. possession, protecting the cable station.

In 1935, operations began for the Martin M-130 flying boats operated by Pan American Airlines. The M-130s island-hopped from San Francisco to China, providing the fastest and most luxurious route to the Far East and bringing tourists to Midway until 1941. Only the very wealthy could afford the trip, which in the 1930s cost more than three times the annual salary of an average American. With Midway on the route between Honolulu and Wake Island, the flying boats landed in the atoll and pulled up to a float offshore in the lagoon. Tourists transferred to a small powerboat that ferried them to a pier, then rode in "woodie" wagons to the Pan Am Hotel or the "Gooneyville Lodge", named after the ubiquitous "Gooney birds" (albatrosses).

Battle of Midway (Japanese air raid)
Burning oil tanks during the Battle of Midway
LocationSand Island, Midway Islands, United States Minor Outlying Islands
ArchitectUnited States Navy
NRHP reference #87001302
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 28, 1987[18] [19]
Designated NHLDMay 28, 1987[20]

World War II

The location of Midway in the Pacific became important militarily. Midway was a convenient refueling stop on transpacific flights, and was also an important stop for Navy ships. Beginning in 1940, as tensions with the Japanese rose, Midway was deemed second only to Pearl Harbor in importance to the protection of the U.S. west coast. Airstrips, gun emplacements and a seaplane base quickly materialized on the tiny atoll.[21]

The channel was widened, and Naval Air Station Midway was completed. Midway was also an important submarine base.[21]

On February 14, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8682 to create naval defense areas in the central Pacific territories. The proclamation established "Midway Island Naval Defensive Sea Area", which encompassed the territorial waters between the extreme high-water marks and the three-mile marine boundaries surrounding Midway. "Midway Island Naval Airspace Reservation" was also established to restrict access to the airspace over the naval defense sea area. Only U.S. government ships and aircraft were permitted to enter the naval defense areas at Midway Atoll unless authorized by the Secretary of the Navy.

Midway's importance to the U.S. was brought into focus on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Midway was attacked by two destroyers on the same day,[21] and the Japanese force was successfully repulsed in the first American victory of the war. A Japanese submarine bombarded Midway on February 10, 1942.[22]

Four months later, on June 4, 1942, a major naval battle near Midway resulted in the U.S. Navy inflicting a devastating defeat on the Japanese Navy. Four Japanese fleet aircraft carriers, Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu and Soryu, were sunk, along with the loss of hundreds of Japanese aircraft, losses that the Japanese would never be able to replace. The U.S. lost the aircraft carrier Yorktown, along with a number of its carrier- and land-based aircraft that were either shot down by Japanese forces or bombed on the ground at the airfields. The Battle of Midway was, by most accounts, the beginning of the end of the Japanese Navy's control of the Pacific Ocean.

Starting in July 1942, a submarine tender was always stationed at the atoll to support submarines patrolling Japanese waters. In 1944, a floating dry dock joined the tender.[23] After the Battle of Midway, a second airfield was developed, this one on Sand Island. This work necessitated enlarging the size of the island through land fill techniques, that when concluded, more than doubled the size of the island.

Korean and Vietnam Wars

From August 1, 1941 to 1945, it was occupied by U.S. military forces. In 1950, the Navy decommissioned Naval Air Station Midway, only to re-commission it again to support the Korean War. Thousands of troops on ships and aircraft stopped at Midway for refueling and emergency repairs. From 1968 to September 10, 1993, Midway Island was a Naval Air Facility.

During the Cold War, the U.S. established an underwater listening post at Midway to track Soviet submarines. The facility remained secret until its demolition at the end of the Cold War. U.S. Navy WV-2 (EC-121K) "Willy Victor" radar aircraft flew night and day as an extension of the Distant Early Warning Line, and antenna fields covered the islands.

With about 3,500 people living on Sand Island, Midway also supported the U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. In June 1969, President Richard Nixon held a secret meeting with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu at the Officer-in-Charge house or "Midway House".

Civilian handover

In 1978, the Navy downgraded Midway from a Naval Air Station to a Naval Air Facility and large numbers of personnel and dependents began leaving the island. With the war in Vietnam over, and with the introduction of reconnaissance satellites and nuclear submarines, Midway's significance to U.S. national security was diminished. The World War II facilities at Sand and Eastern Islands were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 28, 1987 and were simultaneously added as a National Historic Landmark.[20]

As part of the Base Realignment and Closure process, the Navy facility on Midway has been operationally closed since September 10, 1993, although the Navy assumed responsibility for cleaning up environmental contamination at Naval Air Facility Midway.

2011 tsunami

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11 caused many deaths among the bird population on Midway.[24] It was reported that a 1.5 m (5 ft) high wave completely submerged the atoll's reef inlets and Spit Island, killing more than 110,000 nesting seabirds at the National Wildlife Refuge.[25] However, scientists on the island do not think it will have long-term negative impacts on the bird populations.[26]

A U.S. Geological Survey study found that the Midway Atoll, Laysan, and Pacific islands like them could become inundated and unfit to live on during the 21st century.[27] [28]

National Wildlife Refuge

Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Starr 080531-4748 Pritchardia sp.
Navy memorial and gooney monument with Laysan albatross chicks
LocationMidway Atoll
Area2,365.3 km2 (913.2 sq mi)[29]
Governing bodyUnited States Fish & Wildlife Service
WebsiteMidway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial

Midway was designated an overlay National Wildlife Refuge on April 22, 1988 while still under the primary jurisdiction of the Navy.

From August 1996, the general public could visit the atoll through study ecotours.[30] This program ended in 2002,[31] but another visitor program was approved and began operating in March 2008.[13][32] This program operated through 2012, but was suspended for 2013 due to budget cuts.[5]

On October 31, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13022, which transferred the jurisdiction and control of the atoll to the United States Department of the Interior. The FWS assumed management of the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. The last contingent of Navy personnel left Midway on June 30, 1997 after an ambitious environmental cleanup program was completed.

On September 13, 2000, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt designated the Wildlife Refuge as the Battle of Midway National Memorial.[33] The refuge is now titled as the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial.

On June 15, 2006, President George W. Bush designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a national monument. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument encompasses 105,564 square nautical miles (139,798 sq mi; 362,074 km2), and includes 3,910 square nautical miles (5,178 sq mi; 13,411 km2) of coral reef habitat.[34] The Monument also includes the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.

In 2007, the Monument's name was changed to Papahānaumokuākea (Hawaiian pronunciation: [ˈpɐpəˈhaːnɔuˈmokuˈaːkeə]) Marine National Monument.[35][36][37] The National Monument is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the State of Hawaii. In 2016 President Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and added the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as a fourth co-trustee of the monument.


US Navy 100602-N-7498L-021 More than a million Laysan Albatrosses occupy the entire Midway atoll
Albatrosses at Midway Atoll

Midway Atoll is a critical habitat in the central Pacific Ocean which includes breeding habitat for 17 seabird species. A number of native species rely on the island, which is now home to 67–70% of the world's Laysan albatross population, and 34–39% of the global population of black-footed albatross.[38] A very small number of the very rare short-tailed albatross also have been observed. Fewer than 2,200 individuals of this species are believed to exist due to excessive feather hunting in the late nineteenth century.[39] In 2007-8, the US Fish and Wildlife Service translocated 42 endangered Laysan ducks to the atoll as part of their efforts to conserve the species.

Over 250 different species of marine life are found in the 300,000 acres (120,000 ha) of lagoon and surrounding waters. The critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals raise their pups on the beaches, relying on the atoll's reef fish, squid, octopus and crustaceans. Green sea turtles, another threatened species, occasionally nest on the island. The first was found in 2006 on Spit Island and another in 2007 on Sand Island. A resident pod of 300 spinner dolphins live in the lagoons and nearshore waters.[40]

The islands of Midway Atoll have been extensively altered as a result of human habitation. Starting in 1869 with the project to blast the reefs and create a port on Sand Island, the environment of Midway atoll has experienced profound changes.

A number of invasive exotics have been introduced; for example, ironwood trees from Australia were planted to act as windbreaks. Seventy-five percent of the 200 species of plants on Midway are non-native. Recent efforts have focused on removing non-native plant species and re-planting native species.

Lead paint on the buildings still poses an environmental hazard (avian lead poisoning) to the albatross population of the island. The cost of stripping the paint is estimated to be $5 million.[41] Paint removal is expected to be finished by 2017.[42]


Starr 080603-5640 Tournefortia argentea
Marine debris with Laysan albatross chicks

Midway Atoll, in common with all the Hawaiian Islands, receives substantial amounts of marine debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Consisting of ninety percent plastic, this debris accumulates on the beaches of Midway. This garbage represents a hazard to the bird population of the island. Twenty tons of plastic debris washes up on Midway every year, with five tons of that debris being fed to Albatross chicks.[43] The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates at least 100 pounds (45 kg) of plastic washes up every week.[44]

Of the 1.5 million Laysan Albatrosses that inhabit Midway, nearly all are found to have plastic in their digestive system.[45] Approximately one-third of the chicks die.[46] These deaths are attributed to the albatrosses confusing brightly colored plastic with marine animals (such as squid and fish) for food.[47] Recent results suggest that oceanic plastic develops a chemical signature that is normally used by seabirds to locate food items.[48]

Because albatross chicks do not develop the reflex to regurgitate until they are four months old, they cannot expel the plastic pieces. Albatrosses are not the only species to suffer from the plastic pollution; sea turtles and monk seals also consume the debris.[47] All kinds of plastic items wash upon the shores, from cigarette lighters to toothbrushes and toys. An albatross on Midway can have up to 50% of its intestinal tract filled with plastic.[44]


The usual method of reaching Sand Island, Midway Atoll's only populated island, is on chartered aircraft landing at Sand Island's Henderson Field, which also functions as an emergency diversion point runway for transpacific flights.


  1. ^ "MODIS Web: Home >> Images >> Midway Islands". modis.gsfc.nasa.gov. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  2. ^ System, National Wildlife Refuge. "Lands Report – National Wildlife Refuge System". fws.gov. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  3. ^ Visiting Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. FWS Website.
  4. ^ Volunteer at Midway Atoll NWR. FWS Website.
  5. ^ a b Ecotourism ends at Midway Atoll. Star-Advertiser, November 16, 2012
  6. ^ [1]. Galápagos Travel Website, November 16, 2012.
  7. ^ [2]. Photo Safaris Website, November 16, 2012.
  8. ^ "GET /dgs HTTP/1.1 Host: www.WebComposition.net". 2009 42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. IEEE. 2009. doi:10.1109/hicss.2009.229. ISBN 9780769534503.
  9. ^ U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. "More About Midway". Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  10. ^ U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. "More About Midway". Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  11. ^ "Hawaii: Midway Atoll – TripAdvisor". tripadvisor.com. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  12. ^ Ladd, H. S.; Tracey, J. I., Jr. & Gross, M. G. (1967). "Drilling on Midway Atoll, Hawaii". Science. 156 (3778): 1088–1095. Bibcode:1967Sci...156.1088L. doi:10.1126/science.156.3778.1088. PMID 17774053. Also reprinted here [3].
  13. ^ a b "Midway Atoll Program to Reopen in March" (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. January 11, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 16, 2008.
  14. ^ "Midway Island Climate Midway Island Temperatures Midway Island Weather Averages". www.midway.climatemps.com. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "MIDWAY SAND ISLAND, PACIFIC OCEAN NCDC 1971-2000 Monthly Normals". wrcc.dri.edu. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "Australia-Oceania :: MIDWAY ISLANDS". CIA World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  17. ^ "GAO/OGC-98-5 – U.S. Insular Areas: Application of the U.S. Constitution". U.S. Government Printing Office. November 7, 1997. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  18. ^ National Park Service (April 15, 2008). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  19. ^ NHL designations
  20. ^ a b c "World War II Facilities at Midway". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  21. ^ a b c Preparing for War Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial.
  22. ^ Polmar, Norman; Allen, Thomas B. (August 15, 2012). "World War II: the Encyclopedia of the War Years, 1941–1945". Courier Corporation. Retrieved September 16, 2016 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ "After the Battle of Midway". Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Fish & Wildlife Service. November 23, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  24. ^ Brandon Keim (March 15, 2011). "Midway's Albatrosses Survive the Tsunami". Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  25. ^ "Tsunami washes away feathered victims west of Hawaii". CNN. March 19, 2011. Archived from the original on April 18, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2011.
  26. ^ Hiraishi, Tetsuya; Yoneyama, N.; Baba, Y.; Azuma, R. (July 10, 2013), "Field Survey of the Damage Caused by the 2011 Off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami", Natural Disaster Science and Mitigation Engineering: DPRI reports, Springer Japan, pp. 37–48, doi:10.1007/978-4-431-54418-0_4, ISBN 9784431544173, retrieved September 4, 2018
  27. ^ "Storm Surges, Rising Seas Could Doom Pacific Islands This Century: Atolls and other low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean may not slip under the waves but they will likely become uninhabitable due to overwashing waves" ClimateWire and Scientific American April 12, 2013
  28. ^ Storlazzi, Curt D.; Berkowitz, Paul; Reynolds, Michelle H.; Logan, Joshua B. (2013). "Forecasting the Impact of Storm Waves and Sea-Level Rise on Midway Atoll and Laysan Island within the Papa hānaumokuākea Marine National Monument — A Comparison of Passive Versus Dynamic Inundation Models" (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey. U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  29. ^ "Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge". protectedplanet.net. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  30. ^ "Study Tours of Midway Island". New York Times. July 7, 1996. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
  31. ^ Pandion Systems, Inc. (April 12, 2005). "Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge: Visitor program market analysis and feasibility study" (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 4, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
  32. ^ "Interim Visitor Services Plan Approved". United States Fish and Wildlife Service. December 8, 2006. Archived from the original on June 4, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
  33. ^ "Battle of Midway National Memorial". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. March 22, 2010. Archived from the original on May 2, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  34. ^ "Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument". noaa.gov. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  35. ^ "Papahānaumokuākea: A Sacred Name, A Sacred Place". Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2008.;
    Hawaiian pronunciation is given here.Archived March 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ "Fact Sheet: President Obama to Create the World's Largest Marine Protected Area". whitehouse.gov. August 26, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  37. ^ "Secretaries Pritzker, Jewell Applaud President's Expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument". commerce.gov. August 26, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  38. ^ "Midway's albatross population stable – The Honolulu Advertiser – Hawaii's Newspaper". honoluluadvertiser.com. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  39. ^ "U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service — Birds of Midway Atoll". August 19, 2009. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
  40. ^ "U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service — Marine Life of Midway Atoll". August 19, 2009. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
  41. ^ Elizabeth Shogren (December 29, 2006). "Midway, a Protected Area, Is Also Underfunded". Retrieved September 16, 2007.
  42. ^ "Settlement ensures federal cleanup of lead paint at Midway Atoll to protect Laysan Albatross". Associated Press. June 18, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  43. ^ Plastic-Filled Albatrosses Are Pollution Canaries in New Doc Wired. June 29, 2012. Accessed 6-11-13
  44. ^ a b "U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service — Marine Debris: Cigarette Lighters and the Plastic Problem on Midway Atoll" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 21, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  45. ^ Chris Jordan (November 11, 2009). "Midway: Message from the Gyre". Retrieved November 13, 2009.
  46. ^ "Q&A: Your Midway questions answered". BBC News. March 28, 2008. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
  47. ^ a b McDonald, Mark. "The Fatal Shore Awash in Plastic". Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  48. ^ Savoca, M. S.; Wohlfeil, M. E.; Ebeler, S. E.; Nevitt, G. A. (November 2016). "Marine plastic debris emits a keystone infochemical for olfactory foraging seabirds". Science Advances. 2: e1600395. Bibcode:2016SciA....2E0395S. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1600395.

Further reading

Natural history

  • Hubert, Mabel, Carl Frings, and H. Franklin – Sounds of Midway: Calls of Albatrosses of Midway.
  • Mearns, Edgar Alexander – A List of the Birds Collected by Dr. Paul Bartsch in the Philippine Islands, Borneo, Guam, and Midway Island, with Descriptions of Three New Forms.
  • Fisher, Mildred L. (1970). The Albatross of Midway Island: A Natural History of the Laysan Albatross. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-0426-4.
  • Rauzon, Mark J (2001). Isles of Refuge: Wildlife and History of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2209-9.

Military history

  • Fuchida, Mitsuo; Okumiya, Masatake; Kawakami, Clarke H.; Pineau, Roger (1955). Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan. Naval Institute Press.
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1950). Coral Sea, Midway, and Submarine Actions, May, 1942 – August, 1942. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Frank, Pat; Harrington, Joseph D.; Fletcher, Frank; Tanaube, Yahachi (1967). Rendezvous at Midway: U. S. S. Yorktown and the Japanese Carrier Fleet. New York: John Day Co.
  • Parshall, Jonathan; Tully, Anthony (2005). Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. Herndon, VA: Potomac Books. ISBN 978-1-57488-923-9.
  • Prange, Gordon W.; Goldstein, Donald M.; Dillon, Katherine V. (1982). Miracle at Midway. New York: MJF Books. ISBN 1-56731-895-9.
  • Smith, Myron J. (1991). The Battles of Coral Sea and Midway, 1942: A Selected Bibliography (annotated edition). ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-28120-4.
  • Toland, John (1974). But Not in Shame: The Six Months after Pearl Harbour. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-25748-0.
  • Tuleja, Thaddeus (1983). Climax at Midway. Jove. ISBN 0-515-07403-9.
  • Wildenberg, Thomas (1998). Destined for Glory: Dive Bombing, Midway, and the Evolution of Carrier Airpower. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-947-6.

External links

Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway was a decisive naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II that took place between 4 and 7 June 1942, only six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea. The United States Navy under Admirals Chester Nimitz, Frank Jack Fletcher, and Raymond A. Spruance defeated an attacking fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy under Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto, Chūichi Nagumo, and Nobutake Kondō near Midway Atoll, inflicting devastating damage on the Japanese fleet that proved irreparable. Military historian John Keegan called it "the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare".The Japanese operation, like the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, sought to eliminate the United States as a strategic power in the Pacific, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Japanese hoped another demoralizing defeat would force the U.S. to capitulate in the Pacific War and thus ensure Japanese dominance in the Pacific. Luring the American aircraft carriers into a trap and occupying Midway was part of an overall "barrier" strategy to extend Japan's defensive perimeter, in response to the Doolittle air raid on Tokyo. This operation was also considered preparatory for further attacks against Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii itself.

The plan was handicapped by faulty Japanese assumptions of the American reaction and poor initial dispositions. Most significantly, American cryptographers were able to determine the date and location of the planned attack, enabling the forewarned U.S. Navy to prepare its own ambush. Four Japanese and three American aircraft carriers participated in the battle. The four Japanese fleet carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū and Hiryū, part of the six-carrier force that had attacked Pearl Harbor six months earlier—were all sunk, as was the heavy cruiser Mikuma. The U.S. lost the carrier Yorktown and a destroyer.

After Midway and the exhausting attrition of the Solomon Islands campaign, Japan's capacity to replace its losses in materiel (particularly aircraft carriers) and men (especially well-trained pilots and maintenance crewmen) rapidly became insufficient to cope with mounting casualties, while the United States' massive industrial and training capabilities made losses far easier to replace. The Battle of Midway, along with the Guadalcanal Campaign, is widely considered a turning point in the Pacific War.

Bering Standard Time

Bering Standard Time, also called Bering Time, is the standard time at

UTC-11:00 reckoned at 165° west. It is used in places such as the Midway Atoll.

Commercial Pacific Cable Company

Commercial Pacific Cable Company was founded in 1901, and ceased operations in October 1951. It provided the first direct telegraph route from America to the Philippines, China, and Japan.

The company was established as a joint venture of three companies: the Commercial Cable Company (25%), the Great Northern Telegraph Company (25%), and the Eastern Telegraph Company (50%). Though the Eastern (a British firm) was the majority shareholder, the CPCC was registered in the United States.

The company used cable ships to lay its undersea cable across the Pacific Ocean from America's west coast. The cables extended a length of 6,912 miles (11,124 km) and the project cost about $12 million. Before this, messages had to travel across the Atlantic to the Far East via Cape Town and the Indian Ocean, or via London to Russia, then across the Russian landline to Vladivostok, then by submarine cable to Japan and the Philippines.

The first section of cable was laid in 1902 by the cableship CS Silvertown from Ocean Beach, adjacent to the famous Cliff House in San Francisco to Honolulu. It began operating on January 1, 1903. Later that year, cables were laid from Honolulu to Midway Atoll, thence to Guam, thence to Manila. The cables carried the first message to ever travel around the globe from US President Theodore Roosevelt on July 4, 1903. He wished "a happy Independence Day to the US, its territories and properties..." It took nine minutes for the message to travel worldwide.

In 1906 Siemens AG made and laid the section from Guam to Bonin Islands in the Japanese archipelago. In the same year the India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works Company manufactured and laid a cable between Manila and Shanghai using CS Silvertown and CS Store Nordiske.

In the First World War the trans-Pacific service slowed significantly from repeated faults and the general increase in war-related traffic. Despite repeated requests by United States businesses and the Federal government, the company would not invest in improvements to increase traffic volume or speed. After the war conditions eased, but demand continued to be high and the company made repeated promises to invest in a second cable, but never did so. When the US entered the Second World War, the cable connection from Midway to the Philippines closed quickly after 7 December 1941, and did not reopen until the war was over.

By 1946 the cables were developing serious faults. Over a million dollars was spent on repairs, but the company was unable to maintain a viable service and stopped operating in 1951. It merged with American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T).

Hawaiian grouper

The Hawaiian grouper (Hyporthodus quernus, formerly Epinephelus quernus) is a species of marine fish in the family Serranidae. It is large inquisitive inhabitant endemic to the Hawaiian Archipelago (most common around Midway and Kure Atoll) and Johnston Island.

The Hawaiian grouper prefers deep cool waters and has been sighted at 380 ft. It is carnivorous and feeds on fishes and large invertebrates, attaining a length and weight of at least 3 feet and 50 pounds. Hawaiian groupers are protogynious and reproduce externally (fertilization in open water/substratum egg scatterers). They do not guard their eggs once laid. It is a long-lived, commercially important species (member of the 'Deep Seven') and highly sensitive to over-harvesting. The species is currently listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Least Concern (LC). The Hawaiian name for this grouper is hāpu‘u, juveniles known as hāpu‘upu‘u.

Henderson Field (Midway Atoll)

Henderson Field (IATA: MDY, ICAO: PMDY) is a public airport located on Sand Island in Midway Atoll, an unincorporated territory of the United States. The airport is used as an emergency diversion point for ETOPS operations.

Henderson Field was named after Major Lofton R. Henderson (killed in the Battle of Midway during WWII) and is one of three airfields so-named (the other two include the original Henderson Field on Eastern Island (Midway Atoll) and Henderson Field (Guadalcanal)). The airfield now provides access to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge – the sole "window" into the rich resources of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (established in 2006). It operated until 1993 as Naval Air Facility Midway. Its construction was begun by Seabees from the 5th and 10th Naval Construction Battalions in August 1942 as a bomber strip.After transition from the U.S. Navy to the Department of the Interior, the airport was subsidized by Boeing until 2004. Since 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has fully supported airport operations and maintenance with some assistance from the FAA.

Henderson Field is an uncontrolled airport (no tower). Flight arrivals and departures are typically limited to night during November to June when albatross are present. (Midway Atoll NWR is the world's largest nesting albatross colony.)

History of the flags of the United States

This article describes the evolution of the flag of the United States of America, as well as other flags used within the country, such as the flags of governmental agencies. There are also separate flags for embassies and boats.

Laysan albatross

The Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) is a large seabird that ranges across the North Pacific. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to 99.7% of the population. This small (for its family) gull-like albatross is the second-most common seabird in the Hawaiian Islands, with an estimated population of 2.5 million birds, and is currently expanding (or possibly re-expanding) its range to new islands. The Laysan albatross was first described as Diomedea immutabilis by Lionel Walter Rothschild, in 1893, on the basis of a specimen from Laysan Island.

List of Lepidoptera of Midway Atoll

The Lepidoptera of Midway Atoll consist of both the butterflies and moths recorded from the islands of Midway Atoll. Midway Atoll is part of a chain of volcanic islands, atolls, and seamounts extending from Hawai'i up to the tip of the Aleutian Islands.

According to a recent estimate, there are a total of 36 Lepidoptera species present on the Midway Atoll.

List of islands of Hawaii

The following is a list of islands of Hawaii. The state of Hawaii, consisting of the Hawaiian Islands, has the fourth-longest ocean coastline of the 50 states (after Alaska, Florida, and California) at 750 miles (1,210 km). It is the only state that consists entirely of islands with 6,422.62 mi² (16,635 km²) of land. The Hawaiian Island archipelago extends some 1,500 miles (2,400 km) from the southernmost island of Hawaiʻi to the northernmost Kure Atoll. Despite being within the boundaries of Hawaii, Midway Atoll, comprising several smaller islands, is not included as an island of Hawaii, because it is classified as a United States Minor Outlying Islands and is therefore administered by the federal government and not the state.

Hawaii is divided into five counties: Hawaiʻi, Honolulu, Kalawao, Kauaʻi, and Maui. Each island is included in the boundaries and under the administration of one of these counties. Honolulu County, despite being centralized, administers the outlying Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Kalawao (the smallest county in the United States in terms of land area) and Maui, both occupying the island of Molokaʻi, are the only counties that share the same island. Hawaii is typically recognized by its eight main islands: Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Niʻihau.

The state of Hawaii officially recognizes only 137 islands in the state which includes four islands of the Midway Atoll. An island in this sense may also include much smaller and typically uninhabited islets, rocks, coral reefs, and atolls. For that reason, this article lists 152 separate islands (but also names smaller island chains such as the French Frigate Shoals, which includes 13 islands of its own). Some of these are too small to appear on maps, and others, such as Maro Reef, only appear above the water's surface during times of low tide. Others, such as Shark and Skate islands, have completely eroded away.

The majority of the Hawaiian Islands are uninhabited with Niʻihau being the westernmost island with a permanent population. All the islands west of Niʻihau—those categorized as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands—are unpopulated and recently incorporated into the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The island of Oʻahu has 953,207 residents (about 70% of the state's population), and the island of Hawaiʻi is by far the largest island with an area of 4,028 mi² (10,432 km²)—62.7% of the state's land area. The islands were first settled as early as AD 300 by Polynesian long-distance navigators. British captain James Cook was the first European to land on the islands in January 1778. The islands, which were governed independently up until 1898 were then annexed by the United States as a territory from 1898–1959. On August 21, 1959, they were collectively admitted as the 50th state.

The islands are the exposed peaks of a great undersea mountain range known as the Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain, formed by volcanic activity over a hotspot in the Earth's mantle. The archipelago formed as the Pacific plate moved slowly northwestward over a hotspot in the mantle at about 32 miles (51 km) per million years. The islands in the northwest of the archipelago are older and typically smaller, due to longer exposure to erosion. The age of the archipelago has been estimated using potassium-argon dating methods. It is estimated that the northwesternmost Kure Atoll is the oldest at approximately 28 million years, while the southeasternmost Hawaiʻi Island is approximately 400,000 years old and still subjected to ongoing volcanism—one of the most active hotspots on Earth.

Midway noctuid moth

The Midway noctuid moth (Agrotis fasciata) also known as Midway mudworm was a species of moth in the family Noctuidae. It was endemic to Midway Atoll.

This species is now extinct.

Naval Air Facility Midway Island

Naval Air Station Midway Island, also known as NAS Midway, Naval Air Facility Midway, and NAF Midway (former ICAO PMDY), was a U.S. Naval Air Station in the Midway Atoll, the northernmost group of the Hawaiian archipelago. It was in operation from 1941 to 1993, and played an important role in trans-Pacific aviation during those years. Through its lifetime, the facility was variously designated as a Naval Air Station, a Naval Air Facility, and a naval base. It was finally closed on 1 October 1993.Midway Atoll consists of two small islets, Sand Island and Eastern Island, surrounded by a coral reef. Most of each islet is taken up by airfields. The islands were discovered in 1859, and placed under Navy control by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. They gained importance in the mid-1930s as a seaplane stop for the Pan American Airways Clipper planes. A Navy presence then began building up, and Naval Air Station Midway Islands was established on Eastern Island in August 1941.On 7 December of that year, the base was bombarded by Japanese surface ships as part of the attack on Pearl Harbor. This was followed by a major buildup of U.S. Navy, Marine, and Army Air Corps squadrons, meant to detect and defeat units of the Japanese fleet. In mid-1942, the Japanese attempted to invade the islands and destroy the nearby U.S. carrier task forces. From 4–7 June, the Battle of Midway resulted in damage to most of the base, but Navy carrier aircraft sank four Japanese aircraft carriers and one cruiser. This became the turning point of the war in the Pacific.After the Battle of Midway, a second airfield was developed, this one on Sand Island. This work necessitated enlarging the size of the island through land fill techniques, that when concluded, more than doubled the size of the island. It became an important stopover for planes heading to the war zone. It was the origin of a long-range strike on Wake Island by PB2Y Coronados, and was also used for the submarine war patrols that devastated Japanese shipping.

Activity diminished after the war, and Eastern Island was abandoned in 1945. The base was placed in caretaker status and the Naval Air Station was disestablished on 1 August 1950. It was reestablished as a Naval Air Facility Midway in July 1958, serving as a deployment site for land-based Navy WV-2 Warning Star (later redesignated EC-121K) aircraft performing airborne early warning barrier combat air patrol (BARCAP) missions. During the mid-1960s, NAF Midway became an important stop for transport aircraft moving to and from Vietnam, and the base was redesignated as a Naval Air Station. In 1970, Eastern Island was once again vacated, this time being designated as a wildlife sanctuary. After the Vietnam War, NAS Midway mainly served as a refueling stop and a base for occasional Navy patrol planes. In October 1978, it was again downgraded to naval air facility status and all military dependents were sent home to Hawaii while military personnel cycled through on either unaccompanied remote or short duration assignments. At the end of the Cold War, operations dwindled even more. NAF Midway was disestablished pursuant to BRAC on 1 October 1993.After its closure as a naval installation, the airfield reopened as civilian airport under the name Henderson Field.

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands or the Leeward Islands are the small islands and atolls in the Hawaiian island chain located northwest (in some cases, far to the northwest) of the islands of Kauai and Niihau. Politically, they are all part of Honolulu County in the U.S. state of Hawaii, except Midway Atoll, which is a territory distinct from Hawaii and grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. The United States Census Bureau defines this area, except Midway, as Census Tract 114.98 of Honolulu County. Its total land area is 3.1075 square miles (8.048 km2). All the islands except Nihoa are north of the Tropic of Cancer, making them the only islands in Hawaii that lie outside the tropics.

The Northwestern or Leeward Hawaiian Islands include:

Nihoa (Moku Manu) at 23°03′38″N 161°55′19″W

Necker (Mokumanamana) at 23°34′N 164°42′W

French Frigate Shoals (Kānemilohaʻi) at 23°52.134′N 166°17.16′W

Gardner Pinnacles (Pūhāhonu) at 25°01′N 167°59′W

Maro Reef (Nalukākala) at 25.415°N 170.590°W / 25.415; -170.590

Laysan (Kauō) at 25.7675°N 171.7334°W / 25.7675; -171.7334

Lisianski (Papaāpoho) at 26.064031°N 173.965802°W / 26.064031; -173.965802

Pearl and Hermes Atoll (Holoikauaua) at 27.927687°N 175.737991°W / 27.927687; -175.737991

Midway (Pihemanu) at 28°12′N 177°21′W - not part of the State of Hawaii

Kure (Mokupāpapa) at 28°25′N 178°20′W

Outline of Oceania

The following outline is provided as an overview and topical guide to Oceania.

Oceania is a geographical, and geopolitical, region consisting of numerous lands—mostly islands in the Pacific Ocean and vicinity. The term is also sometimes used to denote a continent comprising Australia and proximate Pacific islands.The boundaries of Oceania are defined in a number of ways. Most definitions include parts of Australasia such as Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea, and parts of Maritime Southeast Asia. Ethnologically, the islands of Oceania are divided into the subregions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (roughly ) is a World Heritage listed U.S. National Monument encompassing 583,000 square miles (1,510,000 km2) of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Created in June 2006 with 140,000 square miles (360,000 km2), it was expanded in August 2016 by moving its border to the limit of the exclusive economic zone, making it one of the world's largest protected areas. It is internationally known for its cultural and natural values as follows:

"The area has deep cosmological and traditional significance for living Native Hawaiian culture, as an ancestral environment, as an embodiment of the Hawaiian concept of kinship between people and the natural world, and as the place where it is believed that life originates and to where the spirits return after death. On two of the islands, Nihoa and Makumanamana, there are archaeological remains relating to pre-European settlement and use. Much of the monument is made up of pelagic and deepwater habitats, with notable features such as seamounts and submerged banks, extensive coral reefs and lagoons."

Scouting in Hawaii

Scouting in Hawaii began in the 1900s. It serves thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.

The Wrecker (Stevenson novel)

The Wrecker (1892) is a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson in collaboration with his stepson Lloyd Osbourne.

USS Benham (DD-397)

USS Benham (DD-397) was the lead ship of her class of destroyers and the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Andrew Ellicot Kennedy Benham. It missed the Attack on Pearl Harbor, being an escort for the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise on its way to Midway Atoll at the time. It also served off Hawaii during the Doolittle raid, rescued survivors from several ships, and operated during the Battle of Midway and the landings on Guadalcanal, among other missions. It was torpedoed and rendered unusable, for which she was sunk at the end of 1942.

United States Minor Outlying Islands

The United States Minor Outlying Islands are a statistical designation defined by the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 code. The entry code is ISO 3166-2:UM. The minor outlying islands and groups of islands consist of eight United States insular areas in the Pacific Ocean (Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island) and one in the Caribbean Sea (Navassa Island).

The United States has a related territorial dispute with Colombia over administration of the Bajo Nuevo Bank and Serranilla Bank. These islands are not included in the ISO designation.

Climate data for Midway Atoll
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 70.0
Average low °F (°C) 62.2
Record low °F (°C) 51
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.85
Average precipitation days 16 14 12 11 9 9 15 15 15 14 14 16 160
Source: Western Regional Climate Center[15]

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.