Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day-Admiral Husband E. Kimmel (my fourth cousin twice removed)

Husband E. Kimmel
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Husband Edward Kimmel
26 February 1882 – 14 May 1968

Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel
Place of birth Henderson, Kentucky, USA
Place of death Groton, Connecticut, USA
Allegiance United States Navy
Years of service 1904-1941
Rank Rear Admiral
Unit United States Pacific Fleet
Commands United States Navy
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
*Attack on Pearl Harbor
Husband Edward Kimmel (February 26, 1882 – May 14, 1968) was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. He was the commander of the Pacific Fleet at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Husband E. Kimmel was born in Henderson, Kentucky, on 26 February 1882 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1904. Before reaching flag rank, he served on several battleships, commanded two destroyer divisions, a destroyer squadron, and the USS New York (BB-34). He also held a number of important positions on flag staffs and in the Navy Department, and completed the senior course at the Naval War College.
After promotion to Rear Admiral in 1937, he commanded Cruiser Division Seven on a diplomatic cruise to South America and then became Commander of Cruisers, Battle Force, in 1939.
Pearl Harbor

In February 1941 Kimmel became Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet and Pacific Fleet, with the temporary rank of Admiral. The base for the fleet had been moved from its traditional home at San Pedro, California to Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7, 1941. Edwin T. Layton related that during the attack, “Kimmel stood by the window of his office at the submarine base, his jaw set in stony anguish. As he watched the disaster across the harbor unfold with terrible fury, a spent .50 caliber machine gun bullet crashed through the glass. It brushed the admiral before it clanged to the floor. It cut his white jacket and raised a welt on his chest. ‘It would have been merciful had it killed me,’ Kimmel murmured to his communications officer, Commander Maurice ‘Germany’ Curts.”[1] In The World at War a naval serviceman, who had been situated alongside Admiral Kimmel during the attack, recalled that as Kimmel watched the destruction of the fleet, he tore off his four star epaulets and replaced them with those of a Rear Admiral, in apparent recognition of the impending end of his command of the Pacific Fleet.
Kimmel was relieved of his command in mid-December 1941, while he was in the midst of planning and executing retaliatory moves. He took an early retirement in 1942. He spent much of his time defending himself in front of various hearings, pointing out that all the key information which would have enabled him to anticipate the attack was never made available to him.
Some historians now believe that Admiral Kimmel and Army Lieutenant General Walter Short became scapegoats for the failures of their superiors prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor and that their careers were effectively and unfairly ruined. Edwin T. Layton (later Rear Admiral Layton), chief intelligence officer for Kimmel, and one of the officers who knew Kimmel best, provided support for Kimmel's position in his book, And I Was There: Pearl Harbor and Midway -- Breaking the Secrets (1985). Admiral Layton argued that Kimmel had not been provided complete information, and that Kimmel deployed the few reconnaissance resources at his disposal in the most logical way, given the available information.

Rear Admiral Kimmel's son, Manning M. Kimmel, died after the submarine he commanded USS Robalo (SS-273) struck a Japanese mine near Palawan in July of 1944. Kimmel himself worked for Frederick R. Harris, Inc after the war. He died at Groton, Connecticut, on May 14, 1968.
In 1994, Kimmel's family, including his grandson, South Carolina broadcaster Manning Kimmel IV, attempted to have Kimmel's four star rank re-instated. President Bill Clinton turned down the request, as had Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. A 1995 Pentagon study concluded that there were other high-ranking officers responsible for the failure at Pearl Harbor, but did not exonerate him. On May 25, 1999, the United States Senate, by a vote of 52-47, passed a nonbinding resolution exonerating Kimmel and Short, and asking the President to posthumously promote Kimmel, and others, to the admiral rank.[3] Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC), one of the sponsors of the resolution, called Kimmel and Short "the two final victims of Pearl Harbor." However, neither President Clinton nor his successor, President George W. Bush, have undertaken to posthumously promote Kimmel.

Admiral Kimmel and my grandfather were fourth cousins. I would be Admiral Kimmel's fourth cousin twice removed. I have spoken to his grandson Captain Thomas Kimmel (my sixth cousin). He is on a cruise ship to Hawaii right now doing a lecture on this subject. He will be at Pearl Harbor today, Veteran's Day.

I have an original copy of this Time magazine. I bought it on e-bay.


Jenni said...

That is a very interesting bit of family history there! I was very touched by his story. How sad that we feel the need to always have a scapegoat. How often do you really suppose anything is in the hands of one or two *people*?

Now that first name is interesting. (Like I'm one to talk. Did you notice the weird names in my family?) I guess Mama named him after her Husband:o)

Junebug said...

Admiral Kimmel's first name was the maiden name of his grandmother Phoebe Husband Kimmel.

Anonymous said...

If more people would read RADM Layton's book, they would realize just how scape-goated ADM Kimmel and LTG Short were. Every President and Congress up until our present ones have not had to moral courage and decency to a) redress the shortcomings of the boards of inquiry that demoted both officers and b) corrected the error by returning these officers to their respect 4- and 3-star ranks.

-- CAPT,(Intelligence) (Ret)

Junebug said...

I agree. I have read and purchased several books written on the subject. Even Admiral Kimmel's book. I wish the matter could be reconciled. It's a shame! I seem to have a lot of people interested in looking at this particular blog post.