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Tet And Pearl

June 2024
1min read


Everything I have read and studied about General Short and Admiral Kimmel leads me to believe that they were not bad men, nor would any additional intelligence have helped them ("Pearl Harbor: What Really Happened?,” July/August). They did not even act on the information they had. They were all too typical of the pre-war officer: unimaginative, noninnovative, and, unfortunately, not very competent. Each officer assumed that things were being done by the other, which, as the saying goes, makes an ass of you and me. The strike could not have been prevented, but the losses might have been much mitigated had the commanders been up to the job.

It was can-do officers like Halsey, Spruance, and Nimitz who won the war. General Short and Admiral Kimmel were relieved of command and rightly so. The one thing I have learned in my short time in the Navy and through my own later experience is that the commanding officer is held responsible, whether of the Indianapolis , the Exxon Valdez , or a submarine that dings a fishing vessel. That’s the way it is. Leave the men where they lie.

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