The Chief of Naval Operations has designated the Battle of Midway as one of two of the most significant centerpieces of our rich naval heritage, along with the Navy's birthday. In order to honor those who served so proudly and gave so much, the Association of Naval Aviation, Pitcairn Squadron, in collaboration with Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove hosted a Battle of Midway Commemoration on 4 June 2004 at the Orion's Club onboard NAS JRB Willow Grove. This event commemorated one of the most decisive sea battles in World History. Midway was won, not by superior numbers or daunting technology, but by the courage and tenacity of our military forces who fought a vicious air and sea battle against overwhelming odds. Their victory helped win us the world we have today, and it is appropriate that we remember it and those who participated.

Highlights of the event included presentations by survivors of the Battle of Midway, videos of the actual battle, a memorial service honoring those brave comrades lost during this historic battle, and a buffet dinner with keynote speaker RADM E. L. Feightner, USN (Ret.), a World War II Fighter Ace in the Pacific Theater

CAPT Jim Kenney and his wife Marge set up the "Ships Store" with ANA Pitcairn Squadron souvenirs.

CAPT Russ Appler, CO of the Pitcairn Squadron, and RADM Feightner, guest speaker, greet guests at the Midway Commemoration.

CAPT Appler and Mrs. William Sergi. Mrs. Sergi contributed her late husband's Midway memorabilia for display.

CAPT Russ Appler's introductory remarks.

World War II veterans and guests enjoy a buffet dinner prepared for the Battle of Midway Commemoration.

USO Performers entertain the guests with a medley of '40s songs.

RADM Feightner, World War II Pacific Ace, delivers remarks to the veterans.

Honored Guests at Midway Night. (left to right) CAPT Russ Appler, CO of the ANA Pitcairn Squadron; RADM P. D. Smith, National President of the Association of Naval Aviation; CDR Michael Panciotti, Midway Veteran; RADM E. L. Feightner, WWII Ace and Keynote Speaker; CDR Daniel Sheedy, Midway Veteran; CAPT Layne Smith, Commanding Officer of NAS JRB Willow Grove.



Edward L. (Whitey) Feightner was born October 14, 1919 in Lima, Ohio. He enrolled in the Civilian Pilot Training Program in 1939 and received his Private Pilot's license in 1940. He graduated from Findlay College, Findlay, Ohio, in June of 1941 and immediately enlisted in the Navy V-5 Aviation Cadet Program. He graduated from Flight Training on April 3, 1942, with orders to VF-5 aboard U.S.S. Yorktown, in the Pacific, flying F4F Wildcats. Subsequent assignments flying F4F's included VF-3, VF-10 and First Marine Division, Reinforced, on Guadalcanal. During this period he was credited with 3 kills, 2 probables and 4 damaged. After 7 months in the United States he returned to combat in the Pacific with VF-8, flying F6F Hellcats from U.S.S. Bunker Hill. Operations included strikes on Woleai, Palau, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Mariana Turkey Shoot, Philippines, Truk, Formosa and Iwo Jima. During these operations he was credited with 6 kills, 2 probables, and 5 damaged.

After his return to the United States in January 1945, he was assigned as a VF Type-Instructor in VF-98 and later VF-21. In 1948 he was assigned as a Test Pilot in the Flight Test Division at NATC Patuxent River, Md. followed by tours with the Blue Angels and VX-3.

He commanded The Red Rippers (VF-10) flying F2H-4's on U.S.S. Coral Sea, Air Group Ten aboard U.S.S. Essex and Jet Transitional Training Unit (JTTU) at NAS Olathe, Kansas. In 1960 he served as F-4 (Phantom) Class Desk Officer and later as Head of the Fighter Design Branch in BuWeps. He commanded U.S.S. Chikaskia (AO-54) and U.S.S. Okinawa (LPH-3) followed by tours in OPNAV and NAVAIR. During these tours he participated in several Fighter Studies resulting in the development of the F-14 Tomcat and F-18 Hornet.

RADM Feightner has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with three Gold Stars, the Air Medal with eleven Gold Stars, and the Navy Commendation Medal. He has the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with stars for the awards to the U.S.S. Enterprise, the First Marine Division, Reinforced, and U.S.S. Bunker Hill. He also has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two silver stars and one bronze star (eleven operations); World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; China Service Medal (extended); the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one star. He also holds Expert Rifle and Pistol Medals.

RADM Feightner retired from active duty in the Navy 1 July 1974 and resides in Elida, Ohio.

Battle of Midway links