"December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy." Those words, spoken 80 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, marked America's official entrance into World War II as our nation responded to the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
One of those responses was the Battle of Midway. The air-sea battle with Japan happened six months after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Navy successfully defended its key base located at Midway Island, which proved to be a key moment in the outcome of World War II in the Pacific.
One of Liberty's own, Ensign John C. Butler, played a major role in the Battle of Midway. The Naval Aviator had a direct hit on the stern of one of Japan's key remaining battleships. Ens. Butler would eventually be shot down by enemy fire, and posthumously received the Navy Cross award for his role at Midway.
The message included with Ens. Butler's medal read: “His gallant intrepidity and loyal devotion to the accomplishment of a vastly important objective contributed in large measure to the success achieved by our forces and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Below is a video looking at Ens. Butler's heroism and Liberty's connection to WWII.