|Born||26 Feb 1882|
|Died||14 May 1968|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseHusband Edward Kimmel was born to a US Army major in Henderson, Kentucky, United States. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Maryland, United States in 1904 as an ordnance specialist, and subsequently served aboard several battleships and destroyers and held other shore posts. With his academic credentials earned at the Naval War College and his impressive career record, he was promoted to the flag rank of rear admiral in 1937 with such responsibilities as being the commander of Cruiser Division Seven on a diplomatic trip to South America, and the commander of Cruisers of Battle Force Fleet. His experience led to his appointment as the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, with a brevet rank of admiral. In this role, he was said to be a hard worker that inspired subordinates, but some had also criticized that his over-attention to detail betrayed his lack of self-confidence, thus always spending the time to revisit minute tasks he had done previous when he could have delegated the work to others in the first place.
ww2dbaseOn the opening chapter of the United States' involvement in the Pacific War, the location of his headquarters, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii was subjected to a Japanese raid, which killed over 3,000 and temporarily disabled his fleet. Kimmel, along with his US Army counterpart Lieutenant General Walter Short, was one of the principle scapegoats, and he was relieved from his command merely ten days after the raid and was reverted back to his permanent rank of rear admiral. He was subsequently found guilty of errors of judgement and dereliction of duty, and retired from the US Navy in 1942.
ww2dbaseIn retirement, Kimmel was hired by the military contractor Frederick R. Harris, Inc. He passed away at Groton, Connecticut, United States, in 1968, at the age of 86. It was not until after his death before the United States Senate cleared his name on 25 May 1999, although the Department of Defense would continue to place the blame of the Pearl Harbor disaster on Kimmel and Short. "(Kimmel and Short) were denied vital intelligence that was available in Washington", said Senator William Roth, Jr., noting that they had been made into scapegoats in 1941 to lift blame from other high ranking officers. The attack on Pearl Harbor faced nine investigations, the national attention was clearly unjustly weighted on this single event when, for example, the same unpreparedness for Japanese aggression was equally as great at the Philippine Islands. When President Franklin Roosevelt ordered Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts to head up the investigative commission, which was appropriately named the Robers Commission, many argue that Roosevelt had much political motivation in mind. By charging Kimmel and Short with failure to defend the important American military bases at the Territory of Hawaii, Roosevelt paved himself a path to take military action against Japanese aggression that he had long wished to intervene, and cleared himself of any faults of his own for his re-election campaign in 1944.
Elliot Carlson, Joe Rochefort's War
United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command
Last Major Revision: Jun 2005
Husband Kimmel Timeline
|26 Feb 1882||Husband Kimmel was born.|
|18 Apr 1941||US Navy Admiral Husband Kimmel wrote a letter to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Harold Stark requesting additional resources for base construction at Wake Island and for a US Marine Corps defense battalion to be stationed there.|
|16 Dec 1941||Vice Admiral William Pye replaced Admiral Husband Kimmel as the acting Commander-in-Chief of the USN Pacific Fleet; he would soon be relieved by the newly-appointed permanent Pacific Fleet chief Rear Admiral Chester Nimitz, who was already en route to Hawaii.|
|23 Jan 1942||The Roberts Commission found Husband Kimmel guilty of dereliction of duty for the Pearl Harbor disaster.|
|14 May 1968||Husband Kimmel passed away.|
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Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945