I've seen a few excerpts but no one has seen the entire film except the producers and a few families on the home front. Ford was on the island of Midway during the battle in 1942 and personally supervised, or himself filmed, the action there. Others of his crew were at sea aboard carriers. A good deal of color footage was shot. By happenstance, some of the footage focused on the pilots and crew members of Torpedo Squadron 8. Some of the shots showed them as a group, and others showed them as individuals, going about their business, laughing and joking around their airplanes. The Navy men flew obsolete torpedo planes, called Devestators. Because of what Clausewitz called "the fog of war," they arrived at their targets unescorted by fighters and all of the torpedo planes were shot down. There was only one survivor. Of course Ford knew this when he was assembling the film, so among the opening credits is a plaque reading, "In Memoriam." Releasing a film like this for general distribution was out of the question in wartime, so, as I understand it, Ford saw to it, or tried to see to it, that copies of the film went only to the families of Torpedo Squadron 8. Some few minutes of the film can be seen in a TV production, "John Ford Goes to War."
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