Nimitz, Chester William, born 24-02-1885 in Fredericksburg, Texas, the son of Chester B. Nimitz and Anna Henke. His father died before he was born, so he was deeply influenced by his grandfather, Charles Nimitz, an ex-sailor who had sailed in the German merchant navy.Young Nimitz hoped to attend West Point’s famous military academy and become an army officer. Unfortunately, no appointments were available. However, an acquaintance of his, James L. Slayden, told him that a nomination was available to the Navy, which would be given to the best candidate.For Nimitz, that was his only chance for further education, so he studied extra hard to get the appointment. In 1901 he was admitted to the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 1905, seventh of a class of 144. He attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and graduated in 1905 and joined the United States Navy. He served in the Philippines and in 1909 was assigned to underwater service. Although he initially disliked this move he eventually became the navy’s leading authority on submarines. In 1912 he was given command of the Atlantic Submarine Flotilla and the following year spent time with the German Navy studying diesel engines. When he returned to the United States he recommended their use by the United States Navy. During the First World War Nimitz was Chief of Staff in the Atlantic Submarine Force. He also set up the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of California (1926-29). Afterwards he headed the San Diego destroyer base, was captain of the cruiser Augusta and was assistant chief of the Bureau of Navigation in Washington. Promoted to Rear Admiral in 1938 Nimitz commanded Cruiser Division and Battleship Division before becoming chief of the Bureau of Navigation. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour Nimitz was was placed in charge of the Pacific Fleet. Urged on by Admiral, Ernst King, Commander in Chief of the US Fleet, Nimitz sent William “Bull” Halsey
to attack the Marshall Islands and Frank Fletscher to raid the Gilbert Islands. Nimitz, King and General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific, decided that their first objective should be to establish and protect a line of communications across the South Pacific to Australia.
This resulted in the battles of Coral Sea and Midway, where the Japanese Navy lost all four of her carriers, (see Did you know). Throughout the war Nimitz met regularly with Admiral Ernest King and General Douglas MacArthur. King and MacArthur constantly clashed over strategy. Whereas MacArthur favoured an early return to the Philippines King wanted the islands bypassed so that all available resources could be employed to take Formosa. King believed that the island could then be used as a base for invading mainland China. Unable to gain agreement the matter was eventually passed to Franklin Rooseveltto make the decision. In December 1944 William Leahy and Ernest King were all given the five star rank of Fleet Admiral. At the end of the World War II Nimitz was succeeded by Raymond Spruance as commander of the Pacific Fleet. In November 1945 Nimitz replaced King as Commander in Chief of the US Fleet. Nimitz retired from the United States Navy in 1947 and two years later accepted the post as a good will ambassador for the United Nations.
Nimitz pins the Navy Cross to Doris Miller on 27-05-1942.
Death and burial ground of Nimitz, Chester William.
Chester William Nimitz, who declined to write his memoirs, died at his home in San Francisco Bay on 20-02-1966 of a stroke, age 80. Chester Nimitz is buried on the Golden Gate National Cemetery.