Chester Nimitz

Chester Nimitz

Chester Nimitz was a senior American naval figure who waged a successful campaign in the Pacific in World War Two. Particularly notable was his victory at the Battle of Midway in June 1942.

Born in 1885, Chester Nimitz initially wanted to be in the army. However Nimitz was not successful on entering into West Point and was instead selected for the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. In 1905 he graduated with distinction.

After Nimitz graduated, he spent two years at sea in the Far East and was given his commission as an ensign in 1907. The man who would one day became Fleet Admiral made an inauspicious start to his naval career. The second boat that he commanded - the USS Decatur - ran aground in 1908. Nimitz was found guilty of neglect in the subsequent court-marshall.

Admiral Chester Nimitz Potrait
Admiral Chester Nimitz

From 1909 Nimitz worked on submarines. In May 1909 he was placed in charge of the First Submarine Flotilla and tasked with commanding the USS Plunger.

When America joined World War One in April 1917, Nimitz held the rank of lieutenant-commander. He served on the Maumee which worked to refuel U.S destroyers when they crossed the Atlantic to fight.

Nimitz attended the Naval War College in 1922. In 1926, he became Professor of Naval Science and Tactics at the University of California, Berkeley. He remained there for three years before re-entering the submarine service for two years.

In 1938, Nimitz became a Rear Admiral. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Nimitz became Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet; in 1942 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Ocean Area.

In this position, Nimitz adopted an offensive strategy. He won victories at the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942), the Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 1944) and the Battle for Leyte Gulf (October 1944), and he conducted a successful Solomon Islands Campaign (January-August 1945). Possibly his most significant victory was at the Battle of Midway (June 1942) where much of Imperial Japan’s air carrier force was ruined.

Nimitz became a Fleet Admiral in December 1944. He was one of the signatories on the Japanese surrender document.

After the war, Nimitz served as Chief of Naval Operations, retired from the navy in 1947 and in 1949 became a roving goodwill ambassador for the UN.

Chester Nimitz died on 20 February 1966.

See also: Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa

MLA Citation/Reference

"Chester Nimitz". HistoryLearning.com. 2015. Web.