In World War II, U.S. Navy Seaman were members of the most powerful fleet ever established to maintain control of the seas. These courageous fighting men participated in the most important U.S. victories at sea including those fought in the Pacific. In 1942, the Pacific Fleet ended Japanese threats to Hawaii by forcing back the enemy fleet off Midway. In 1944, a U.S. force of 169 warships fought the Japanese in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, eliminating Japanese naval power. When World War II ended in 1945, the U.S. Navy had amassed the most effective and powerful fleet that ever existed. It had 3,400,00 men and women, and 2,500 ships including 24 battleships, 35 aircraft carriers, 77 escort carriers, 92 cruisers, 501 destroyers, 406 destroyer escorts and 262 submarines.