Reporting on the VIP Reception and screening of Midway…
Yountville, Calif., Saturday, February 15, 2020 – The The Tug McGraw Foundation – the honorary chair is country music singer/actor Tim McGraw – paid tribute to World War II veterans living at the California Veterans Home Yountville and in other areas of Napa Valley with a VIP Reception for WWII veterans only followed by a complimentary screening of the movie Midway. The public was invited to the movie at no charge.
The event took place at the Lincoln Theater on the grounds of the California Veterans Home in Yountville, Calif. Bill was invited, but when Jennifer Brusstar, CEO and president of The Tug McGraw Foundation, learned that Bill could not attend, she invited me in his place. I accepted on the spot.
Following the screening was a Q&A with screenwriter Wes Tooke, production designer Kirk Petruccelli, Navy film advisor Chuck Myers (Docent at the USS Hornet in Alameda), and moderated by Admiral James “Jaws” Winnefeld (Ret), Ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Top Gun Instructor.
It was a memorable event for veterans and non-veterans alike. For me, there were some special takeaways…
Meeting a young woman whose grandfather was on the team that broke the Japanese code revealing details of the upcoming offensive against the Hawaiian islands. On June 4, 1942, armed with this information, American planes were able to surprise the Japanese and win the decisive Battle of Midway in the Pacific.
Meeting Don Long, Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr and Pearl Harbor survivor. I’ll let Cmdr Long tell his harrowing story in his own words: Pearl Harbor Survivor Don Long Reflects on Dec. 7, 1941.
Chatting with the WWII vets – men and women. They arrived by different means of transportation and, for many, it was a great effort to get there. But get there they did. I could see Bill wearing his U.S. Navy Armed Guard ball cap and jacket and swapping stories with fellow vets. Interestingly, there were no veterans from the Battle of Midway in attendance.
What followed after the Battle of Midway?
The Battle of Midway, June 4-6, 1942, was six months after Pearl Harbor and was a major turning point in World War II. But it would soon be followed by another major turning point, the bloody six-month struggle for Guadalcanal, Aug 7, 1942 – Feb 9, 1943.
In Bill’s award-winning WWII military history, The Solomons Campaigns, 1942-1943: From Guadalcanal to Bougainville, all of the battles that took place after Midway are covered, from Aug 7, 1942 to Nov 25, 1943. Material for a follow-up movie?
And that’s from Casa McGee.