He assumed command of the USS ENTERPRISE (CV 6) Carrier Air Group Six in April 1942. In the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942 he led two squadrons of his air group on a skillful search to discover and destroy the powerful Japanese carrier striking force of Admiral Nagumo, successfully eliminating the KAGA and AKAGI. A third enemy carrier, SORYU, fell victim to USS YORKTOWN dive bombers led by Lieutenant M.F. Leslie, USN. The fourth and remaining Japanese carrier, HIRYU, was later sunk by the combined attacks of YORKTOWN and ENTERPRISE planes. As Samuel Eliot Morrison recorded in the two-ocean war, "Never has there been a sharper turn in the fortunes of war than on that June day when McClusky and Leslie's dive bombers snatched the palm of victory from Nagumo's masthead, where he had nailed it on December 7."
For outstanding service while attached to USS ENTERPRISE, participating in raids on the Marshall, Wake, Gilbert and Marcus islands and the Battle of Midway, he was awarded the Air Medal, the Distinguised Flying Cross, a letter of Commendation with Ribbon, a Ribbon and facsimile of the Presidential Unit Citation to the ENTERPRISE, the Purple Heart Medal, and the Navy Cross.
In addition, Admiral McClusky held the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp; the American Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II victory Medal, Naval Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp, China Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. He retired on July 1, 1956 and was advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral on the basis of combat awards. Rear Admiral McClusky died June 27, 1976.