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Special Event Station WØM 2022

June 4, 2022 1500Z to 2400Z

SEMARC will hold a Special Event to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Midway during World War II where Captain Richard E. Fleming of Saint Paul, MN, gave his life for his country. Fleming Field is named for Captain Fleming, a U.S. Marine Corps pilot during the war. This event is usually held at Fleming Field, the South St. Paul, MN airport, but will be operated from another location due to the forecast of inclement weather on June 4.

For 6 months following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Fleming's squadrons patrolled the air near the Midway, never making enemy contact. In his letters, Fleming fretted about spending the war in the backwaters. This would soon change.

On June 4, 1942 Fleming's squadrons were ordered to attack the Japanese Fleet. Scores of American aircraft never returned. Fleming's commanding officer was killed and Fleming's aircraft, a Vought SB2U Vindicator, limped back after he failed to drop a bomb on the aircraft carrier Akaqi. Fleming received two slight wounds.

Vought SB2U Vindicator           U.S. naval fleet

The next day prompted the squadron commander, Captain Fleming, and the remnants of his squadron to return to the battle. Fleming directed his aircraft in a screaming dive at the Japanese cruiser Mikuma. The enemy ship was struck with the bomb, then by Fleming's plane. A Japanese officer later wrote that it was a suicide bombing. There was a tremendous blast as the gasoline from Fleming's plane flowed down into the Mikuma's engine room where the fumes ignited and exploded, killing the entire engine room crew. The Mikuma, now gutted and helpless, laid wallowing in the water. The following day U.S. bombers found the helpless Mikuma, which later rolled over and sank.

Captain Fleming was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military award for valor. Fleming's citation, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt reads:

    The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
    for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
"For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty as flight officer, Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 241, during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of Midway on 4 and 5 June 1942. When his squadron commander was shot down during the initial attack upon an enemy aircraft carrier, Capt. Fleming led the remainder of the division with such fearless determination that he dived his own plane to the perilously low altitude of 400 feet before releasing his bomb. Although his craft was riddled by 179 hits in the blistering hail of fire that burst upon him from Japanese fighter guns and antiaircraft batteries, he pulled out with only two minor wounds inflicted upon himself. On the night of 4 June, when the squadron commander lost his way and became separated from the others, Capt. Fleming brought his own plane in for a safe landing at its base despite hazardous weather conditions and total darkness. The following day, after less than four hours' sleep, he led the second division of his squadron in a coordinated glide-bombing and dive-bombing assault upon a Japanese battleship. Undeterred by a fateful approach glide, during which his ship was struck and set afire, he grimly pressed home his attack to an altitude of 500 feet, released his bomb to score a near miss on the stern of his target, then crashed to the sea in flames. His dauntless perseverance and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service."

Captain Richard E. Fleming, USMC was the only man to be honored with the Medal of Honor during this crucial battle.


Download your QSL certificate after working this Special Event.

Full color version           Reduced color version


SEMARC Website Edited by Dick Roberts NØUC and Joe Hibberd W3QLC