BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The heroic actions of a Western New Yorker during a vital World War II battle were recognized Sunday at the Buffalo Naval Park.

C. Wade McClusky, a South Buffalo native, led a group of dive-bombers at the Battle of Midway against Japanese naval forces, according to the Naval Park. He and his crew were running low on fuel, but they risked going beyond a point of no return to find a Japanese fleet, which they then destroyed in a matter of minutes.

McClusky rose to the rank of Rear Admiral (RADM) before he retired in 1956. He passed away in 1976 at the age of 74.

Retired living WWII dive-bomber pilot LCDR George Walsh, USN, stressed the importance of McClusky's actions and the battle of Midway at the ceremony Sunday. He also described how much was at stake at that point in the war.

"If our careers were sunk at Midway, and they would have been if it had not been for the actions of McClusky, we would in fact have been defending San Francisco, and the Japanese would have been free to link up with the Germans," he said.

Sunday marked 75 years since the first day of the influential Battle of Midway.