On February 3, 2014, the International Midway Memorial Foundation (IMMF), filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the financial records for years 1997-2014. After nearly four months with no response, Captain James Noone, USNR, Esq. (Ret.) contacted the regional FIOA representative for USFWS. As a result, some weeks later, I participated in a conference call between Dan Clark (current Wildlife Manager on Midway), Larry Buklis (Regional 2 FOIA coordinator) and myself on June 11, 2014. There was consensus that the USFWS would provide the IMMF with a report of revenues and expenditures for USFWS operations on Midway for the years 2009-2014. This information was promised by July 10, 2014. The most surprising acknowledgement by Mr. Clark and Mr. Buklis was that the USFWS has never performed a financial audit of Midway’s operations.
Senator Marco Rubio’s staff has referred the Foundation to the office of Senator Brian Schatz (HI) for any further discussions about Midway. Senator Schatz introduced a bill on March 20, 2013 that a study be performed to determine the feasibility of the National Park Service receiving jurisdiction over the historic aspects of Midway. Initially, there was very good communication with staff member James Chang but eventually this stopped despite repeated attempts by the IMMF to continue the dialogue. This fact was brought to the attention of Senator Rubio’s staff, who persisted in referring us to Senator Schatz’s staff. The Foundation is presently attempting to gain the assistance of Senator Bill Nelson (FL).
In response to Congressman John Duncan’s inquiry, he received a reply from the Department of Interior (DOI), stating that “the Fish and Wildlife Service continues their consultation requirements to consult with the IMMF on matters related to the management of the Memorial and specifically World War II- era building and facilities.” This written statement is totally false because the FWS has never consulted with the IMMF on the management of any of the historic aspects of Midway Atoll.
Fred Ferguson, Legislative Director for Congressman Rob Bishop, has moved on to become the Chief of Staff for Congressman Jason Chaffetz. The new point of contact for Congressman Bishop is Harry Burroughs, Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs. Mr. Burroughs is waiting for a series of questions to be answered he posed to the Service, before proceeding with further action. Progress on these inquiries will be reported in the Fall issue of the Midway Sentinel.
The USNA and the IMMF will partner on hosting the Battle of Midway Essay Contest Award Day at the USNA grounds each year in mid-May. The IMMF will review the top essays and award a sterling silver Battle of Midway Medallion to the winner of the contest beginning in May of 2015.
The title of the manuscript I have submitted to the U.S. Naval Institute Press for publication has been changed to Pacific Rivalry at the Turning Point. Dr. William Dudley, former Director of the Naval Historical Center has agreed to write the preface if publication becomes a reality.
Chris and I wish everyone a happy summer.