The Battle of Midway Roundtable
In remembrance of
RADM DONALD M. “MAC” SHOWERS, USN-Retired
1919 - 2012
by Ronald W. Russell
24 October 2012
CORNERSTONE OF THE ROUNDTABLE
With the deepest of regret, I must announce to the members of the Battle of Midway
Roundtable and to all others who may have an interest: the nation, the Navy, and the
Roundtable has lost one of their very best.
Mac Showers passed away on the 19th of October, 2012, at the age of 93.
It wouldn’t be adequate to say that Mac was simply one of the most active
and generous contributors among our cadre of BOM veterans. In fact, he was at the pinnacle of
that group, among only about three or four of our vets whose participation here
was fundamental to the establishment of the Roundtable as the foremost
association anywhere focused exclusively on the Battle of Midway. In particular, Mac’s experience as
an intel analyst on the staff of Commander Joseph Rochefort’s Station Hypo
before and during the battle made him a wonderful, unique resource on the
history and workings of Rochefort’s “dungeon” at Pearl Harbor—the source of most
of the communications intelligence (CommInt) that enabled CINCPAC to craft what
would become the Incredible Victory.
Together with fellow CommInt veteran Phil Jacabsen, Mac provided the
Roundtable with a continuing narrative of the CommInt successes (and some
failures) that marked the first year of the Pacific War. His contributions to the dialogue
went far beyond that generally recorded in the history books, though, because it
turned out that significant portions of those reports were often less than
accurate—occasionally downright wrong.
Chief among them was the famous “water ruse” episode, in which Hypo
supposedly tricked the Japanese into revealing that their cryptic geographic
designator “AF” stood for Midway, thus confirming the target of the invasion
fleet. Mac was emphatic in turning
that well-worn tale around, pointing out that (a) Hypo had known for weeks that
“AF” was Midway, and (b) that the target of the ruse was therefore Washington,
not Tokyo—Rochefort’s bosses in the capital refused to believe that virtually
the entire Japanese fleet was headed to an isolated sandy atoll instead of
something more worthy, like Pearl Harbor or even Panama. As a result, that element of Hypo’s
achievements with regard to Midway has been more accurately recorded in
subsequent media productions.
Mac’s generosity on the Roundtable did not stop with occasional
commentary on his Hypo experiences—he went well beyond the norm in very actively
responding to numerous requests for help with school history projects on Midway,
as well as with numerous video and print productions by the Navy and commercial
interests. It’s fair to say that everyone’s view today of CommInt in the Pacific
from Pearl Harbor to Midway has been dramatically changed for the better thanks
For much more on Mac Showers at Midway and beyond, please click “Mac’s
Biography” below. You will also
find a link to an excellent commercial DVD totally focused on Mac and CommInt,
“At the Interface,” which I can recommend to all.
Farewell and following seas to an outstanding public servant, honored
Midway veteran, invaluable Roundtable contributor, and cherished friend.
Click here for more photos.
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