Kimmel file photo

Husband Kimmel

Born26 Feb 1882
Died14 May 1968
CountryUnited States
CategorySea

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

Husband 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.

On 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.

In 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.

Sources:
Elliot Carlson, Joe Rochefort's War
United States Navy Naval History and Heritage Command
Wikipedia

Husband Kimmel Timeline

26 Feb 1882 Husband Kimmel was born.
18 Apr 1941 US Navy Admiral Kimmel wrote a letter to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral 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.

Photographs

Portrait of Commander Husband Kimmel, Jun 1923Portrait of Captain Husband Kimmel, 1926-1937Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel, commanding officer of US Navy Cruiser Division Seven, probably on board his flagship USS San Francisco, circa 1939San Francisco in a South American port, with US Navy Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and a South American officer onboard for tours, 1939; note SOC-1 aircraft in hangar
See all 10 photographs of Husband Kimmel



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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Danny House says:
    5 May 2007 12:01:39 PM

    Hi
    Didnt Adm. Kimmel die in nineteen sixty-eight? You have ten yrs earlier. Can you check?
    Thanks
    Danny
  2. Danny House says:
    5 May 2007 12:03:33 PM

    Hi
    Ok, have read further down, and you have 1968 in the body of your biog sketch, but note that at the top is the erroneous yr, 1958
  3. Anonymous says:
    9 Mar 2008 05:03:29 PM

    wow
  4. BILL says:
    9 Mar 2009 11:52:43 AM

    Kimmel should have acted on his own, even if denied vital intel. He should have worked with the army and had forces on 24hr alert, had air patrols, he should have had a "gut feeling"
  5. BILL says:
    9 Mar 2009 12:11:53 PM

    As a Military Commander he should have remembered the British raid on the Italian fleet at Taranto, Italy on 11/12 Nov. 1940, and that was in the enemies home waters. The aircraft used by the British were Fairey Swordfish with a maximum speed of 139mph and was obsolete at the start of WWII. Kimmel should have asked himself the question, could such an attack happen at pearl? his staff should have pointed this out, and provided Kimmel with information, and he should have taken action on his own!
  6. Bill says:
    23 Jan 2010 04:55:51 PM

    How could they possibly be Japanese planes?

    -Husband E. Kimmel-
  7. Andrew says:
    5 Sep 2011 12:03:42 AM

    I've been studying about Pearl and the only reason Kimmel and Short were relieved was because if official Investigations.

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Portrait of Commander Husband Kimmel, Jun 1923
See all 10 photographs of Husband Kimmel



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