Husband E. Kimmel
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Husband Edward Kimmel (February 26, 1882 – May 14, 1968) was a United States Navy four-star admiral who was the commander in chief of the United States Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was removed from that command after the attack, in December 1941, and was reverted to his permanent two-star rank of rear admiral due to no longer holding a four-star assignment. He retired from the Navy in early 1942. The United States Senate voted to restore Kimmel's permanent rank to four stars in 1999, but President Clinton did not act on the resolution, and neither have any of his successors.
- Goddamnit, use your common sense!
- Reply to William F. Halsey, Jr., when Halsey asked "How far do you want me to go?" as he prepared to lead Task Force 2, the most critical part of which was the aircraft carriers stationed at Pearl Harbor, out on patrol. Halsey was concerned about the possibility of charting a course that might be taken as an act of war by the Empire of Japan. Task Force 2 left Pearl Harbor on 28 November 1941. As quoted by Halsey in Admiral Halsey's Story (1947) by William Frederick Halsey, Jr. and J. Bryan III. New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Book Company, p. 74
- From: CINCPAC
To: All ships present
AIR RAID PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NO DRILL
- Dispatch from Kimmel to all ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at approximately 0812 on 7 December 1941, as quoted by William Frederick Halsey, Jr. in Admiral Halsey's Story (1947) by William F. Halsey, Jr. and J. Bryan III. New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Book Company, p. 77
- The Pacific Fleet was inferior to the Japanese Fleet in every category of fighting ship... Japan, at the outbreak of hostilities, had nine aircraft carriers in commission. We had three carriers in the Pacific and those did not have their full quota of planes. Although the battleships of the fleet were all approximately the same age as the heavy ships of the Japanese Navy, our ships were particularly deficient in short-range anti-aircraft weapons...
- Excerpt from Kimmel's testimony before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack. As quoted by William Frederick Halsey, Jr. in Admiral Halsey's Story (1947) by William F. Halsey, Jr. and J. Bryan III. New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Book Company, p. 70
Quotes about Kimmel
- All this was long ago. Nearly two-thirds of my classmates are dead, and not one of us is left on active duty. But there might be one if a close friend of mine received his justice. I refer, and will refer again, to Husband E. Kimmel.
- William Frederick Halsey, Jr. and J. Bryan, III, Admiral Halsey's Story (1947). New York: Whittlesey House, p. 5
- I was in such a hurry to see Kimmel that I commandeered the first boat I found. Machine-gunners were firing at everything that moved, and bullets whizzed around us all the way to CINCPAC's landing, but the black-out saved us from damage. In peacetime Pearl, the officers wore whites on Sundays. Kimmel and his staff were still wearing their Sunday uniforms, crumpled, and spotted with mud. Their faces were haggard and unshaven, but their chins were up. Kimmel himself was a marvel of cool efficiency, although the hysteria that surged around him mounted by the minute: eight Japanese transports had been seen rounding Barbers Point; Jap gliders and paratroopers- their uniforms were described- had just landed at Kanoehe. I broke out laughing. Kimmel wheeled on me. "What the hell is there to laugh about?" I said, I've heard a lot of wild reports in my life, but that's the wildest I ever heard! The Japs can't possibly tow gliders here from their nearest base, and certainly they're not going to waste their precious carrier decks on any such nonsense. My God!"
- William Frederick Halsey, Jr., Admiral Halsey's Story (1947) by William F. Halsey, Jr. and J. Bryan III. New York: Whittlesey House, p. 81-82
- Even then, I think everyone present knew that the disaster would be formally investigated, but I'll take my oath that not one of us would have guessed that the blame would fall on Kimmel, because not one of us thought he deserved it- any part of it. I want to emphasize my next statement. In all my experience, I have never known a Commander in Chief of any United States Fleet who worked harder, and under more adverse circumstances, to increase its efficiency and to prepare it for war; further, I know of no officer who might have been in command at the time who could have done more than Kimmel did. I also want to repeat and reemphasize the answer I made when the Roberts Commission asked me how I happened to be ready for the Japanese attack. I told them, "Because of one man: Admiral Kimmel."
Who, then, is to blame? Look at it logically: the attack succeeded because Admiral Kimmel and General Short could not give Pearl Harbor adequate protection. They could not give it because they did not have it to give. They did not have it because Congress would not authorize it. Congress is elected by the American people. And the blame for Pearl Harbor rests squarely on the American people and nowhere else. Instead of trying to dodge our responsibility by smirching two splendid officers, we should be big enough to acknowledge our mistakes- and wise enough to profit by him.
- William Frederick Halsey, Jr., Admiral Halsey's Story (1947) by William F. Halsey, Jr. and J. Bryan III. New York: Whittlesey House, p. 82
- The gravest charge against Admiral Kimmel and General Short is that they virtually ignored the "war warning" dispatch of 17 November from Washington. Admiral Kimmel, as we have seen, did send air reinforcement promptly to Wake and Midway Islands. He had already (with Admiral Bloch's cooperation) set up the surface and air patrol off the mouth of Pearl Harbor which encountered the midget submarines. Thus, the charge whittles down to this: that he did not repeat this warning and beef-up air patrol after 17 November. He thought that he had done everything that could reasonably be expected, in view of the intelligence received. Nevertheless, an "unwarranted feeling of immunity from attack" prevailed in Oahu at the crucial moment, as Admiral King observed; and it is not unfair to hold Kimmel and Short responsible.
- Samuel Eliot Morison, The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War (1963). Boston: Little, Brown & Company, p. 74
- There is an old saying, "Give every dog two bites"; but Kimmel and Short were not even allowed one; they were relieved from active duty forthwith. Admiral Turner, however, was conceded two bites- Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Savo Island, after which he became a highly successful practitioner of amphibious warfare. General Marshall functioned brilliantly as Chief of Staff; and Admiral Stark, as Commander United States Naval Forces Europe in London, acquitted himself very well. Admiral Kimmel and General Short were so shaken by the attack that they had to be relieved anyway; but they might, with justice, have been given honorable commands elsewhere.
- Samuel Eliot Morison, The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War (1963). Boston: Little, Brown & Company, p. 75