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The Navy League and The Report Card Announce the 4th Annual Francesca Korach Battle of Midway Essay Contest

11 February 2015 the Report Card

Win the $1000.00 first prize and receive your award from Marine General John Kelly, Commander Southern Command at the Navy League’s Annual Battle of Midway Commemoration Dinner at The World Golf Village Renaissance Hotel. Click on the Essay Contest on The Report Card cover page and download the rules. The contest is open to all high school students within the Continental United States. Past winners have gone on to Yale, on full NROTC scholarship, The United States Naval Academy, and Pomona College NROTC.


A key mission of the Navy League is to educate the public about the mission and contributions of the Sea Services. In particular, the Navy League is interested and active in supporting Sea Cadets and JROTC both to interest young people in the Naval service and to educate young people at the middle and high school level. For this reason, The Navy League of the United States, St. Augustine, Mayport and Jacksonville Councils and The Report Card are sponsoring an essay contest about the Battle of Midway. The Essay Contest is also sponsored by The American Legion Post 37, The Anderson Family Trust, the Wyman Family Trust, and the Stencil Family. The Battle of Midway is considered by many historians to be the most important Naval battle of WWII. The Battle of Midway Dinner has traditionally hosted veterans of that battle. Each year there are fewer and fewer veterans able to attend. The 2014 Dinner at Marriot Renaissance World Gold Village had over 850 active service, and Navy League guests including Battle of Midway Veterans, Medal of Honor recipients, and POW’s. The Battle of Midway Dinner is the largest Navy League event in the world. The Navy League believes that the Dinner is a fitting time for the older generation to “pass the torch” of the glorious history of the Battle of Midway to the younger generation. It will be the rare privilege of the contest winners to pay tribute to the dwindling surviving veterans of the Battle of Midway.


Gordon Prange, in Miracle at Midway says:

“Less than six months after their victory at Pearl harbor, the Japanese sent an enormous, combat-seasoned fleet of eighty-eight surface warships on a dual mission to capture Midway Atoll and lure the remains of the weakened U.S. Pacific Fleet to their destruction. This was to be the opening round of an even bigger operation, one that would eventually isolate Australian and conquer Hawaii.

But things didn’t go as the Japanese planned. Having broken the Japanese codes, the American military knew of those plans. A much smaller American fleet of twenty-eight ships sped past Midway and waited for the Japanese to arrive. Although the Japanese Fleet was led by Vice Admiral Nagumo, who had spearheaded the attack on Pearl Harbor, it was ultimately defeated in a Battle that became the war’s turning point.”

Winston Churchill, in The Hinge of Fate

“The last of Nagumo’s four fleet carriers had been smashed, and with them were lost their highly trained air crews. These could never be replaced. So ended the battle…rightly regarded as the turning point of the war in the Pacific.”


Contest Rules

All high school students anywhere in the United States and in good standing are eligible to submit essays. A grand prize of a $1000 scholarship will be awarded to the best essay. Second and third prizes will be $500 and $250 respectively. The prizes will be awarded on June 13, 2015 Midway Dinner personally by General John F. Kelly, USMC US Central Command. The contest winners will have the additional privilege of having their essay printed in the banquet program and personally meeting Battle of Midway veterans, Medal of Honor recipients and other veterans.

Students will write an essay about The Battle of Midway of no less than 500 words. The Finalists, whose essays will be forwarded to the national judges, will be required to record their essay on camera and upload to their YouTube account. Winners will be asked to make public appearances time permitting, so the Navy League wants to ensure that the winners will be able to speak convincingly in public. Accordingly, finalist essays will be weighted 75% for clarity and originality, and 25% for spoken delivery. Since the essay must be original, evidence of plagiarism will disqualify the contestant. Contestants are free to choose any topic or perspective about The Battle of Midway of interest to them. Here are some examples of topics:

  1. What made The Battle of Midway so important?
  2. How was the inferior American force of 28 ships able to defeat the far larger

Japanese force of 88 ships?

  1. How did the Battle of Midway demonstrate American leadership.
  2. Select a participant in the Battle of Midway who you believe best exemplifies

leadership. For example you may choose Admiral Nimitz, the overall commander, CDR Joe Rochefort whose team broke the Japanese Naval code, LCDR John Waldron, who led torpedo squadron VT-6, CDR Wade McClusky who led the successful drive bombing attack against the Japanese carriers, or any other participant who you feel meets your definition of leadership.

  1. What was the role of intelligence?

Contestants will attach a bibliography of literature they used to develop their essays. Historic references and quotes should be footnoted. Any credible source may be used, but a short list of reference works is attached as a starting point. The semi-final essays should be forwarded to William Korach electronically in pdf. file together with a video of the contestant reading the essay not later than 5/1/15. The video may be uploaded to the contestant’s You Tube account, and the link forwarded with the pdf. All essays become the property of the Navy League of the United States, and The Report Card

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