CHICAGO (CBS) — Veterans from the pivotal World War II Battle of Midway took center stage at Midway Airport as the airport marked the 70th anniversary of the battle, after which the airport is named.

Retired Naval aviator Capt. Jack Young was among those who spoke. He said that the battle taught U.S. pilots the importance of air group discipline.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Jack Coombe provided ground support for the battle and said it was payback for the horror inflicted by the Japanese Imperial Air Force and Navy at Pearl Harbor, which Coombe survived.

“We took a terrible beating that day,” Coombe said.

The Navy delivered a crushing blow to the Japanese at Midway Island on June 4 through 7, 1942, just six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the U.S. into the war.

A color guard and wreath-laying at the airport’s Midway exhibit accompanied recognition of Midway survivors and other veterans.

Midway International Airport was built as Chicago Municipal Airport, and was renamed in 1949 to honor veterans of the battle. At the time, Midway was the world’s busiest airport.

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