An Appeal To President Bush (WW2, general, Washington, Japanese)
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Manning Kimmel is continuing the generations old battle with the federal government to clear his grandfather's name. His grandfather, Husband Kimmel was the top ranking Admiral for the US Navy Forces at Pearl Harbor at the time of the December 7, 1941 attack.
Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Kimmel and his Army counterpart, General Walter Short were demoted and forced to retire. A military investigation into the attack found the two officers were "derelict in their duties."
For years and years the Kimmel family have tried everything to get Kimmel & Short's highest ranks restored posthumously. It will take a letter from the President to Congress to restore the officers ranks. George B #1 left office and no letter and Clinton left office with no letter. Manning is now appealing to GW.
Interesting and tragic story. This is the guy that got grazed by a bullet in the Pearl Harbor attack and said "it would have been more merciful if it killed me". His son later was killed in WW2.
What can I say? Naval commander's almost always get disgraced and court marshalled when they lose their ship, it's part of naval tradition. This guy lost almost his whole fleet. Nixon, Clinton, Reagan...this case was brought up to all of them and they did not pardon him, don't know why. Maybe because it would send a bad precedent. Not sure.
Basically it's the ... Buck Stops Here in the military when one takes command ... the commanding officer is where the buck stops. You assume the burden of that command and take responsibility for all the actions of everyone that works under you. It's not an easy task to assume but it's a well known fact up front. Crying about it afterwards ain't gonna help. I'm no historian, but the govt, both military and civilian in Washington and at Pearl Harbor itself had enough info that they should have been better prepared.
I've read about Admiral Kimmel, and it seems most agree that he did nothing wrong. Earlier (1940), Admiral James Richardson, Commander of the Pacific fleet, was relieved of command when he argued against moving the fleet to its new base at Pearl Harbor. Sounds like there was a bit of a power struggle at that time. We've apologized to the Japanese decendents for their internment. It's time we apologize to our own soldiers for the atrocities they've endured by their home government.
What can I say? Naval commander's almost always get disgraced and court marshalled when they lose their ship, it's part of naval tradition.
That is correct.
I collect military history books and have read this story from all angles. The fleet was not supposed to have more than half of it's ships at Pearl Harbor at one time...due to security reasons. A lack of fuel caused the Admiral to rethink his original order and all ships were brought into port. It left ALL the ships vulnerable and unprotected.
The true question is if there was PRIOR knowledge that an attack on Pearl Harbor was in the making and who had knowledge of this? History supports the fact that both FDR and Admiral Kimmel had this knowledge....Short didn't. Obviously, Kimmel had to be the scapegoat. However, he wasn't entirely innocent of making a bad call that ended in a destroyed fleet and killed so many sailors.
It's an Oliver North kind of story.
Regardless, I don't know why they don't let the story end with giving the man back his original rank. Up until the attack, the man had a tremendous Naval career and served his country well. It's a shame he didn't die with at least a 'Thanks' from the White House.
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