Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik this week joined her colleagues in urging the Secretary of the Navy to consider awarding Lieutenant Commander Lance Massey, who was born in Watertown in 1909, the Medal of Honor.

During the Battle of Midway, Massey led a torpedo squadron against the Japanese, which paved the way for the most critical U.S. naval victory in the Pacific Theater. Massey died serving his country and was awarded the Navy Cross for his service.

“Lieutenant Commander Massey’s leadership and bravery during the Battle of Midway beyond a doubt helped turn the tide against the Japanese and pave the way for an American victory,” Stefanik said. “I am forever grateful for Lieutenant Commander Massey’s sacrifice and am proud to advocate for him to be properly recognized for his heroic actions.”

View full text of the letter here or below:

Dear Secretary Del Toro,

Congratulations on your recent confirmation by the Senate to the office of Secretary of the Navy. I look forward to working in partnership with you to secure and defend America. The United States Navy has a long legacy of brave men and women who have fought and served in defense of our great nation.

We are writing you today regarding three of those brave men, Lieutenant Commanders Lance Massey, Eugene Lindsey, and John Charles Waldron. These men were the commanders of Torpedo Squadrons 3, 6, and 8 (VT-3, VT-6, VT-8), which attacked Japanese Naval forces on June 4, 1942, during the Battle of Midway in the Second World War, beginning the crucial battle and surprising the Japanese Navy.

While all the men who participated in the almost universally suicidal attack that day deserve recognition, we believe that the three commanders of the Torpedo Squadrons deserve the highest recognition that our nation can give: the Medal of Honor. As the men who initiated the battle that day, the decisions made by Massey, Lindsey, and Waldron, without regard for their own lives, allowed U.S. forces to cripple the Japanese Navy in what proved to be a decisive turning point in the war. Waldron was the first to discover the enemy fleet, and he bravely led VT-8 in an attack that delayed a Japanese strike. Lindsey and Massey followed the smoke from Waldron’s attack, leading VT-6 and VT-3 in attacks on the Japanese carriers Hiryu and Kaga. These attacks threw off the Japanese Navy’s battle plans and allowed American dive bombers to find the carriers and ultimately sink them.

After the Battle of Midway, the Japanese Navy went from being on the offensive to being on the defensive for the rest of the war, a result directly attributable to the early actions of Massey, Lindsey, and Waldron. It is deeply moving to hear about the heroic actions of these men that day in the face of certain death and learn how their actions were instrumental in America’s victory in the Second World War.

We believe that Massey, Lindsey, and Waldron deserve the Medal of Honor, and we respectfully request that you review the events of June 4, 1942 and consider these men for the highest award for military valor that our nation can bestow. We are ready to work alongside you to ensure they receive this recognition posthumously should you determine they are deserving of the award. Please do not hesitate to contact Matthew Cardenas at matthew.cardenas@mail.house.gov should you have any questions on this matter.