74 Years Since the ‘Battle of Midway’—What Happens Now?

Posted on June 06, 2016

It was 74 years ago this week—June of 1942—that one of the major naval battles of World War II raged around the Midway Atoll, a chain of three small islands that are about 1,300 miles from Honolulu. Today, the atoll is home to the Battle of Midway National Memorial, but millions of seabirds have also found a place in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.

What is raging now around Midway is a debate about how to protect Midway’s history and habitat.

Watch this video on the past and present of Midway Atoll, from 1903 when the first around-the-world telegraph message was sent across its shores, up to the atoll’s current condition:

Midway Atoll's History and Habitat

GAO reviews how the federal government manages Midway.

Today the general public is no longer allowed to visit the islands, funding has gone up and down, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering the future of the property, which it manages. Read our full report about the issues, and check out more than 100 high-resolution photographs of the historic site and wildlife refuge from our report, such as these images of the galley constructed in 1957 as part of the buildup of Midway Atoll’s naval air station during the Cold War.

Figure 63: Galley, Midway Atoll, Sand Island

(Excerpted from GAO-16-382)

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