Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

June 6, 2014

Event honors contributions of several during WWII

GLASGOW — Seven people who were affected by, served in or contributed to the Battle of Midway were honored during a press conference for the ongoing Midway Island Reunion in Glasgow on Friday, which also marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Both battles – Midway in the North Pacific Ocean in June 1942 and D-Day in Normandy, France, in June 1944 – were key moments during World War II.

On Friday, Joanna Sparks and John Wood of Glasgow were joined by Don Morelle, William Ward, D.E. Ward, Robert North and James Edwards in speaking briefly about their contributions to World War II.

According to information provided by the Glasgow-Barren County Tourist Commission, the Battle of Midway saw the U.S. Navy defeat a Japanese attack, marking a turning point in the war. The island is roughly the same distance between North America and Asia.

Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser, 292 aircraft and suffered about 2,500 casualties, said Todd Steenbergen, the moderator at the event.

The United States lost the U.S.S. Yorktown, a destroyer, about 125 aircraft and suffered 307 casualties.

“It was a battle these folks won’t forget,” said Steenbergen, who teaches advanced placement history at Barren County High School.

Each Battle of Midway survivor was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and speak about the particular role they held during that time.

Sparks, who is originally from Arkansas and now lives in Glasgow, was a so-called “Rosie the Riveter” during the war, helping install windshields in planes in Tulsa, Okla. She worked third shift, and the labor was unlike any she had experienced at that time. She said she wasn’t afraid of heights and enjoyed her efforts.

Morelle, of Michigan, served in the submarine service, and arrived on Midway right out of boot camp. He served on the fishing detail for three months in 1994, and on relief duties. Every Friday, soldiers were fed fresh fish that they caught themselves.

North, of Lebanon, Tenn., said that when he went to boot camp in San Diego, they were in a hurry. Two months after he was sworn in at boot camp, he was shipped out to the island. As a second-class radio technician, he served at Midway for two months. While he was there, he met another man from Lebanon.

After the panelists spoke, they served lunch with their families.


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