5 July 1859 Captain N.C. Brooks of the Hawaiian Bark Gambia is the first Westerner to record the atoll. Islands were named "Middlebrook Islands". 28 August 1867 Captain William Reynolds of the USS Lackawanna takes possession of the atoll for the United States. Midway becomes the first offshore islands annexed by the U.S. government. 20 January 1903 Due to recurring complaints of Japanese squatters and poachers, President Theodore Roosevelt places the atoll under the control of the Navy.20 April 1903 Commercial Pacific Cable Company's first contingent arrives on island. June 1903 U.S. Navy ejects Japanese poachers and squatters and appoints Commercial Pacific Cable Company as island custodians. 4 July 1903 The first "around the world" cable message was sent via Midway by President Roosevelt. The message took nine minutes. 12 April 1935 Pan American World Airways sets up an air base for weekly Trans-Pacific Flying Clipper Seaplane service. March 1940 Private contractors start construction of the runways on Eastern and other infrastructure on Sand Island in preparation for possible hostilities. 1 August 1941 U.S. Naval Air Station Midway is commissioned. 7 December 1941 Two Japanese destroyers, the "Midway Neutralization Unit," shelled Midway. Four men were killed, including the war's first Marine Corps recipient of the Medal of Honor, Lieutenant George Cannon. 3-6 June 1942 Japanese launched an attack against Midway in the hope of engaging and destroying the U.S. aircraft carriers and occupying Midway. U.S. Fleet aircraft ambush the Japanese Fleet north of the islands inflicting heavy losses (four aircraft carriers), thus turning the tide of the War in the Pacific. 15 July 1942 The submarine base at Midway is commissioned. The base was of great strategic importance in the entire Pacific arena and of operational importance to submarines based at Pearl Harbor.
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During the breeding season, adult tropicbirds (see one pictured above over Midway lagoon) fly in a group around one another, swinging their tail streamers from side to side for several minutes to attract the female bird. Their courtship displays are complex and consist of flying backwards, vertically, and in large, vertical circles.