On 8 May 1942, USS YORKTOWN (CV-5) was severely damaged by the Imperial Japanese Navy during an air attack at the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Japanese left her crippled in the Pacific and reported her off as sunk.
It was during this time that our Navy code breakers intercepted and deciphered Japanese plans to attack at Midway in just a few short weeks. The Japanese anticipated a major Fleet engagement would ensue and they could finish the job they started with the attack on Pearl Harbor – the complete destruction of our Fleet.
Having a good idea of Japanese intentions, Admiral Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas (CinCPOA) drew up plans to engage the Japanese in a surprise ambush at Midway. It was clear that Nimitz would need all three of his remaining carriers – ENTERPRISE, HORNET, and YORKTOWN – at Midway to have a chance at winning this fight.