At Midway Atoll, 1,000 miles northwest of Hawaii and 2,500 miles east of Tokyo, the US Navy inflicted devastating damage on the Japanese fleet that proved irreparable. The Japanese operation had intended, like the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, to eliminate the US as a strategic power in the Pacific, thereby giving Japan a free hand in expanding its new Empire in the Pacific.
The Japanese plan was to lure American aircraft carriers and their warship groups into a trap at Midway Atoll then destroy them. However, as a result of a fortuitous break of the Japanese secret code system, the US was able to prepare for the battle and instead ambush Japan’s fleet with devastating effect.
Victory at Midway turned the tide of the war in the Pacific and the Japanese were never again on the offensive in the Pacific. It meant that in August 1942, US marines were able to land at the Solomon Island, starting a nearly three-year island hopping campaign with British, Australian and other forces, that would eventually lead to the defeat of Imperial Japan.
Commander Paul Sierleja enlisted in the Army in 1990 as an Infantryman and served in Operations Desert Shield and Storm. He was commissioned as a naval officer in 2000. In Spain, he led reconnaissance missions during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He then served in Japan, Italy and at Whidbey Island, Washington, USA as Officer in Charge of detachment sites in Europe and South America. He then moved Washington DC for a staff tour at the National Nuclear Security Administration, where he completed an MA in History from Sam Houston State University.
After a stint in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he received a MS in Strategic and Defence studies from Universiti Kebaangsan Malaya, he became Naval Liaison Officer at the US Consulate in Hong Kong. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, both the Navy and Army Commendation Medals, and the Combat Infantry Badge, among numerous other decorations.
Members of the RGS, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for RGS Members and HK$200 for guests and others, including a complimentary glasses of white or red wine. This event is free of charge for Student Members.
The Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to Hill Dickinson as the Venue Sponsor of this talk.