President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to December 7, 1941- the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor- as “a date which will live in infamy.” This description has continued to be accurate, nearly 70 years after the attack on American soil. However, not many people have the same emotional connection to the events at Pearl Harbor, as does the former Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, the man who was in the position of “Commander-in-Chief” at Pearl Harbor. The events of this day caused his rank of “Admiral” to be removed.
Kimmel’s Military Background
Admiral Husband E. Kimmel grew up in Henderson, Kentucky as one of seven children, and graduated as valedictorian of his high school. Although it was originally his plan to attend West Point, he was not accepted, so he entered the United States Naval Academy in May 1900. Kimmel graduated from the Naval Academy on February 1, 1904 and was then sent to serve in the gunnery department on the battleship USS Kentucky. He continued to rise in rank in the years following, and then, in 1914, after being named lieutenant, he was named “the aide and fleet gunnery officer on the staff of the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet.” (pg 58, Betrayed). In World War I, Kimmel reached the rank of lieutenant commander, in addition to serving as a squadron gunnery officer, executive officer of the Arkansas, production officer of the Naval Gun Factory, and commander of the Destroyer Division 45. Kimmel was thought of very highly by his superiors, being described as “an all-around officer of great promise” and “a splendid officer of high character.” (Betrayed, 59). The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral William V. Pratt even said of Kimmel, “He is a driver and a worker most efficient and he does it all without antagonizing people; I like him because he says what he thinks, never fools you, and his judgment is excellent. He is eminently qualified for promotion and I expect to see him get to the very top someday.” (Betrayed, 59). Kimmel continued to advance in his rank as he came to be in command of the USS New York, allowing him to become an officer, and then, rear admiral on October 13, 1937 and became the Commanding Officer Cruisers, Battle Force and then the command of Cruisers, Battle Force in the Pacific Fleet through 1940. With the world being in the first year of war, the United States was paying close attention to Japanese threat of seizing allied colonies. Kimmel and his fellow officers at Pearl Harbor were aware that the Pacific Fleet would be involved in the war, if the Japanese attempted to seize control of any colonies allied with the United States, especially the Philippine Islands. Then, on January 5, 1941, Husband E. Kimmel was informed that Admiral James O. Richardson, Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet, had been “relieved of his command” (Betrayed, 61) and that, as of February 1, Kimmel would become both the Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet, as well as...