Chester W. Nimitz
1815 to 1891
WWII Admiral of the Pacific Fleetby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
Chester W. Nimitz, perhaps the most famous commander in the world, gained the upper hand of World War II by using an elaborate and eminent strategy to defeat the one of the most powerful countries in the world with the aid of God. On December of 1941, after the tragic bombing of Pearl Harbor, Nimitz was made Admiral of the cinCPAC which was also known as the American Naval Force. With time short, and the enemy Japan striking hard, Nimitz launched the most daring counter offensive in history. He had analyzed the war offensive, and decided that the fastest and safest way to protect themselves was to hit Japan where it hurt the most. To execute this God-lead maneuver, Nimitz struck out at the Japanese occupied islands one by one until the actual mainland was in reach.
He was born on February 24, 1885 in Fredericksburg Texas. His parents and Grandfather had a huge influence in his life. Being born to a Methodist family, Nimitz grew up attending church every Sunday. When he was twenty-four, Nimitz enlisted in the Navy.
Nimitz’ first blow to the Japanese was in the battle of Java. The Allied forces, consisting of England, Australia, and the United States, tried to hold the island from the invading Japanese forces (Hemmer, Kevin. The War in the Pacific. Manhattan: Landmark Books, 1994). The Allies had approximately 32,000 troops and the Japanese 35,000. The European and American forces were armed with a light anti-infantry division of British Hussar tanks. At 10 AM on February 10, 1942, fifty-six transport ships and sixteen Japanese cruisers beached on the western Java shore and launched their first wave of soldiers from the landing boats (Hemmer, Kevin. The War in the Pacific. Manhattan: Landmark Books, 1994). Nimitz stood on the bow of the aircraft carrier “Enterprise” with a pair of field glasses watching the ongoing battle. The charge proceeded in short order and the Japanese were routed from the island.
Another major event that Nimitz led was the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Japanese launched five heavy carriers and four cruisers en route to Port Moresby, New Guinea (Sirene, Henry. Islands and Bombs. Salt Lake City: A New Horizon, 2002). The US Navy decoded a Japanese message and intercepted them in the Coral Sea on May 4, 1942. This naval battle was the first confrontation that neither battleships firing were sighted by each other. Missiles were launched by both sides into an area they guessed the enemy vessels were in. Airplanes were launched and there were dogfights to accompany the missiles rocketing overhead. At the end of the battle, the US Naval force lost one carrier and a cruiser (Sirene, Henry. Islands and Bombs. Salt Lake City: A New Horizon, 2002). The Japanese navy lost two cruisers and had one carrier badly damaged. The Americans retreated into a storm and escaped the Japanese leaving them badly crippled and unable to continue to New Guinea, and in an unsuitable condition to fight in the Battle of Midway (Sirene, Henry. Islands and Bombs. Salt Lake City: A New Horizon, 2002). The Japanese may have won the Midway Atoll if they had had more naval presence. The Americans losses were much worse, but the Japanese were stopped and were forced to return to port.
Naval warfare had been slow and ineffective until the Battle of Midway. This turning point took place from June 4, 1942 to June 7, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, five months after the Japanese capture of Wake Island, and exactly six months to the day after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor (Wikipedia, Battle of the Coral Sea). The Japanese plan of action was to lure America's remaining carriers into a trap and sink them. The Japanese also intended to occupy Midway Atoll to extend Japan's defensive perimeter farther from its home islands. The Americans, however, were determined not to be taken down easily. Their three carriers launched all the two hundred and thirty-two planes they were carrying. One hundred and twenty-seven planes form the mainland were flown out to the US navy. Despite superior forces and more powerful ships, Japanese carriers were not prepared to take fire from three hundred and fifty-nine planes. After losing all four of their Aircraft carriers and two battleships, they turned around their remaining cruisers and fled followed closely by the American bombers.
Subsequently, like a tornado wrecks houses, Nimitz proceeded in short order to disable the numerous other Japanese outposts between Java and Japan. The last and final Pacific battle he conducted together with Commander Holland Smith was the battle of Iwo Jima. The marines swept onto the beach with fire blazing from their rifles. Charging up the sandy black wasteland they were caught in crossfire from the adjacent bunkers (Wikipedia, D-day). Surprisingly, the first waves of the Americans were cut down by a far smaller force. Eventually the soldiers managed to weasel out the bunkers. During a particularly intense sweep up the cliff side, Nimitz ordered a group of troops to fight their way to the top of Mount Suribachi and plant the American flag on the ridge. Bringing two photographers with them, the marines battled their way up the mountain and to the top of the ridge. A radio transmission was sent down to the command deck on the carrier “Enterprise”. The whole transmission was recorded. The marine said, “Okay, the flag is planted can you see it?” The reply that he received was short. “No, it’s too small.” (Hemmer, Kevin. The War in the Pacific. Manhattan: Landmark Books, 1994) Nimitz ordered another larger flag to be sent up the mountain side. Two hours later, the two photographers snapped the photo of three soldiers mounting a poled banner on the ridge. The battle lasted another twenty-five days before the final Japanese soldiers were either killed or captured (Sirene, Henry. Islands and Bombs. Salt Lake City: A New Horizon, 2002).
Nimitz died on February 20, 1966 at the age of eighty.
Chester W. Nimitz prayed to make the right decisions during WWII and believed God powerfully directed him to make decisions. With God's help, including what many call the miracle at Midway, WWII was a huge victory for the USA and the Allies. Nimitz, the admiral of cinCPAC made many clever and strong moves which caused him to be the most decorated officer in WWII. Nimitz gave God the glory. The most successful retaliation was made by a man that trusted and listened to God.