On 75th an­niver­sary, re­mem­ber Nimitz

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor - NOLAN NEL­SON Eu­gene, Ore­gon

For Pearl Har­bor, the Ja­panese forged a strate­gic weapon of six heavy car­ri­ers for a co­or­di­nated at­tack by 360 planes on Sun­day, on Dec. 7, 1941. Never be­fore had any coun­try ex­e­cuted or planned a raid by more than two car­ri­ers on any naval or land tar­get.

No inkling ex­isted within any al­lied op­er­a­tional or in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity of a ca­pa­bil­ity be­yond the 21 tor­pedo bombers used by a Bri­tish car­rier to at­tack the Ital­ian navy at Taranto.

On Christ­mas Day 1941, Adm. Ch­ester Nimitz took com­mand. When he ar­rived, he saw a sunken bat­tle fleet and was as­sailed by a poi­sonous at­mos­phere cre­ated by black oil, charred wood, burned paint and rot­ting flesh.

How­ever, he found that the pub­lic’s per­cep­tion was wrong. The car­ri­ers, their es­corts and the sub­marines stood ready to take the of­fen­sive.

The un­ex­pected atroc­ity of Pearl Har­bor re­quired Ja­pan to con­tend with the U.S. Navy from its for­ward base in Hawaii rather than force its en­emy to be­gin op­er­a­tions from the West Coast. The dry-dock, repair shops and tank farm were in­tact.

Nimitz im­me­di­ately sent sub­marines into Ja­panese wa­ters and con­ducted car­rier op­er­a­tions thwart­ing Ja­panese ini­tia­tives.

Adm. Ray­mond Spru­ance said of Nimitz, “The one big thing about him was that he was al­ways ready to fight. ... And he wanted of­fi­cers who would push the fight with the Ja­panese.”


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