Admiral Chester Nimitz at Pearl Harbor

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Really interesting, and I never knew this little bit of history:
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Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time.  In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, “Reflections on Pearl Harbor ” by Admiral Chester Nimitz.
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by Amy Rutherford-Close
(Nimitz Foundation)
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Sunday, December 7th, 1941–Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
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Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.  He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941.  There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.
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On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters every where you looked.Image
As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?”
Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.  Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America. Which do you think it was?”
Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?” Image
Nimitz explained:
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Mistake number one:  The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave.  If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.
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Mistake number two:  When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.  As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America .  And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.
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Mistake number three:  Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill.  One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.
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That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make, or God was taking care of America.
I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it.  In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredricksburg, Texas — he was a born optimist.  But anyway you look at it — Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.
President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat. We needed a Texan.
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3 thoughts on “Admiral Chester Nimitz at Pearl Harbor

  1. The inscription on the bottom leaves out the last line of FDR’s speech.

    “SO HELP US GOD”

    How could the WWII memorial in Washington DC allow such a huge oversight? Or do you think it was left off intentionally?

  2. The Japanese intended another strike to take out the fuel tanks and dry docks, but they were afraid our carriers might be coming to attack their forces, so they cancelled the third strike and withdrew. They also contemplated destroying the locks on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. That would have been a devastating blow.

  3. The Japanese really screwed up at Pearl Harbor and also at Midway. They completely underestimated the will of the American people. I wish the world would finally wake up and realize what we are made of and kindly leave us alone. If this country does finally go under it will be from within not from abroad. If we keep own electing our government officials the way we have lately it won’t be long. Just hope I won’t be around to see it. I was raised during the best time a person could ever ask for and have had a good life but I really worry about our kids future.

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