History Spotlight: Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz

History Spotlight: Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz

Original article by DD contributor: @modern_world_history “George”

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, born February 26th, 1885 in Fredericksburg, Texas.

At first he applied to West Point with hopes of becoming an Army officer, however he couldn’t get an appointment and applied to the United States Naval Academy. He graduated with distinction and was 7th in a class of 114.

He was given command of the USS Decatur, however it ran aground into a sand bank near the Philippines, and Nimitz was given a court martial and was found guilty of Neglect of Duty. Yet, undeterred he went on to command other vessels and was later sent to the Boston Navy Yard to assist with the fitting out of the USS Skipjack, where he then assumed command of the submarine. On the Monitor Tonopah on March 20th, 1912, he rescued a fireman W .J Walsh from drowning, earning a silver star.

He took part in the First World War commanding a refuelling ship which undertook the first underway (on the move) refuelling, refuelling the first US Navy destroyers to cross the Atlantic, in 1917.

Between the wars he then held multiple positions such as the executive officer on the USS South Carolina and commander of the USS Chicago and even went to university and established the reserve naval officer training school. He also lost part of a finger in an incident with an engine, it stopped when it hit his ring… He continued to keep calm and give orders through the pain.

10 days after pearl harbour he was promoted to commander-in-chief of the US Pacific fleet. He successfully organised the heavily damaged and disorganised fleet from Pearl Harbour into the force that would stop the Japanese onslaught. He was in command during the iconic, and pivotal battle of Midway. (Which I will post about later). Chester Nimitz passed away due to a complication after having a stroke in 1966 on the evening of the 20th of February. He is buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery. His grandfathers old hotel is now a museum to Nimitz.

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