Grandson seeks to clear name of Pearl Harbor admiral
FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. admiral demoted
after the surprise Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor should be
cleared of blame and have his rank posthumously restored, his
grandson said on Wednesday, the 64th anniversary of the
Thomas Kimmel, born two years after the December 7, 1941,
assault on the major U.S. naval base in Hawaii, said President
George W. Bush should exonerate Rear Adm. Husband E. Kimmel.
“My grandfather never knew anything about … the secret
decoding of Japanese diplomatic and spy communications, which
gave us indications of the plan for the Pearl Attack and even
the timing of the attack,” Kimmel said. “That information was
kept in Washington and never provided to my grandfather.”
Kimmel, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, and Army
Maj. Gen. Walter E. Short, commander of the Hawaiian Department
of the Army, were reassigned from their leadership positions
after an investigative commission blamed them.
The Japanese assault destroyed several U.S. warships and
planes and killed more than 2,000 people, raising the curtain
on the Pacific Theater of World War II.
The U.S. Senate approved a resolution in 1999 exonerating
the two officers and restoring their ranks. But the White House
has the final decision, and neither Bush nor predecessor Bill
Clinton has followed through.
Kimmel and Short were forced to retire at reduced rank, and
were exempted from a 1947 law which allowed World War II era
officers to retire with the pay and benefits of the highest
field rank they held during the war, the younger Kimmel said.
“Think about that,” Kimmel said. “The only two persons who
were officially punished for the Pearl Harbor attack were my
grandfather and General Short. I think it’s time for that
unjust punishment to be removed from the record of this very
Kimmel died in 1968 and Short in 1949.