Battle of Midway: Epic Turning Point and Ohio’s Unsung Hero of WWII

CLICK TO LISTEN Ep. 7: Ohio v. the Rising Sun

We’re back from summer break for the 2nd half of Season 7! We’re locked and loaded over the skies of Midway Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for the biggest and most consequential battle in US Naval history: the Battle of Midway. Fought by air and sea on June 4, 1942, the United States defeated Imperial Japan and turned the tide of World War II forever. We explore the key contribution by US Navy code breaker, Joe Rochefort, from Dayton, Ohio that lead to the American’s successful ambush of the Japanese fleet.

We’re joined by two excellent military historians: Trent Hone and Dr. Peter Mansoor, Colonel, US Army (Ret.). to discuss all things Midway. From Pearl Harbor to Doolittle’s Raid, Col. Mansoor takes us through the US military’s string of losses in the first six months of the Pacific War. Trent Hone, author of the upcoming book Mastering the Art of Command, about Admiral Chester Nimitz, explains the most analyzed naval battle in US history with aplomb and clarity. Buy Trent’s new book here when it’s released on September 15 by the US Naval Institute.

Both guests help us discovery the unsung hero of WWII, Joe Rochefort, naval officer and cryptanalyst that cracked the Japanese code and set up the American surprise attack at the Battle of Midway. We go through the intelligence and how Rochefort tricked the Japanese into giving away the time and place of their big attack. Rochefort, born in Dayton, Ohio, sadly did not receive the credit he deserved for decades following Midway.

Dr. Peter Mansoor, the General Raymond E.Mason Jr. Chair of Military History at the Ohio State University joins the show for the first time and discusses the battle in real time as the US sinks 4 Japanese aircraft carriers to turn the tide of the Pacific War. Trent Hone discusses the most consequential 15 minutes in American military history to that time. We also are joined by a previous guest, Beth Weinhardt, retired historian of the Westerville Public Library, from an interview about Rochefort’s mentor, Agnes Mayer Driscoll. Driscoll, of Westerville, broke the early Japanese codes and taught Rochefort everything she knew about cryptography and played a role in the victory at Midway. Listen to our episode from 2017 about Aggie’s groundbreaking career here…

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