MIDWAY screening pays tribute to World War II veterans in Napa Valley
On 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 in Yountville and other areas of Napa Valley with a VIP Reception for the veterans followed by a complimentary screening of the movie MIDWAY.
The event took place at the Lincoln Theater on the grounds of the California Veterans Home in Yountville, Calif. As a WWII veteran and historian, Bill was invited, but when Jennifer Brusstar, CEO and president of The Tug McGraw Foundation, learned that Bill had recently passed away, she invited me to attend in his place, and I accepted on the spot.
About the Movie
MIDWAY centers on the Battle of Midway, the clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy which marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater during WWII. The film, based on the real-life events of this heroic moment, tells the story of the leaders and soldiers who used their instincts, fortitude, and bravery to overcome the odds.
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.
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 just 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.
Shameless Promotion: What happened 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?
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