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Battle of Midway veterans honored during ceremony aboard USS Midway

By Madison Weil,


SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — This year marks 81 years since the Battle of Midway. On Saturday, a commemoration ceremony was held aboard the USS Midway to honor veterans who fought in the pivotal World War II battle.

Veterans, active servicemembers and families gathered for dinner and a special service.

Several veterans who fought in the Battle of Midway in 1942 were present, including Henry “Hank” Kudzik, who was aboard the USS Nautilus submarine, at the time.

“I was frightened,” he said. “Everybody was trying to kill the next guy… the enemy was trying to get us and we were trying to get the enemy.”

Kudzik, now 98 years old, was just 17 at the time. Digital

“We were young — we could have died right there just like that,” he said. “I thought what I was doing was going to save our young people from the war… our young ladies. My two daughters. I didn’t want them to be killed.”

Charles Monroe and Ervin Wendt were also in attendance. The two served together during the Battle of Midway in the same squadron, Torpedo Squadron EIGHT (VT-8).

Wendt, now 107 years old, reflected on those only there in spirit.

“I wish my other shipmates were here… They’re all gone. Everybody’s gone,” said Wendt.

Monroe, age 99, remembers a miraculous moment when he was under attack and his gun suddenly jammed: “I said Lord get me out of this mess and I’ll go to church. My gun started working. And I went to church.”

After the sentimental service and a series of speeches, the crowd gave a standing ovation.

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