CHESTER W. NIMITZ FLEET ADMIRAL (1885-1966)
Acutal Scans from Surrender Photo
The signed surrender photograph shows Admiral Nimitz signing the
Japanese copy of the Instrument of Surrender document. Nimitz
was the Official Representative of the United States. At this
precise moment the hostilities of World War II were over for the
Nimitz was born in Fredericksburg, Texas on February 24, 1885.
He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1905.
During World War I, he served as Chief of Staff to the Commander
of the Submarine Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet. His early submarine
service had an important influence on the Allied application of
the submarine against the Japanese in the Pacific War.
Nimitz also established one of the first Naval Reserve Officer
Training programs at a university. From 1939 to 1941, he served
as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation. This Department deals with
the job placement of the manpower available to the Navy, which
during his tenure was expanding rapidly.
On December 31, 1941, he was appointed Commander in Chief, U.
S. Pacific Fleet. The American Fleet had been devastated by the
Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The task of holding back the offensive actions of the Japanese
was accomplished at the Battle of the Coral Sea and at the Battle
of Midway, which many historians feel was the turning point of
the Pacific War.
Throughout the war Nimitz remained in command of the vast majority
of the naval forces engaged in the Pacific. His primary command
area was the Central Pacific, however, his forces also assisted
the Southwest Commander, Douglas MacArthur. In many ways, his
naval career was a prelude for what became the largest naval command
in the history of the world.
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Nimitz's ability to select the best the Navy had to offer for
the key command positions in the Pacific, his own tactical ability,
and the talent of extracting the best out of the officers and
men who served under his command, played an important part in
producing the ultimate victory over Japan.
After the surrender ceremony was over, Nimitz released the following
statement for broadcast to the Pacific area and the United States:
"On board all naval vessels at sea and in port, and at our
many island bases in the Pacific, there is rejoicing and thanksgiving.
The long and bitter struggle is at an end.
Today all freedom-loving peoples of the world rejoice in the victory
and feel pride in the accomplishments of our combined forces.
We also pay tribute to those who defended our freedom at the cost
of their lives.
On Guam is a military cemetery in a green valley not far from
my headquarters. The ordered rows of white crosses stand as reminders
of the heavy cost we have paid for victory. On these crosses are
the names of American soldiers, sailors and marines -- Culpepper,
Tomaino, Sweeney, Bromberg, Depew, Melloy, Ponziani -- names that
are a cross-section of democracy. They fought together a brothers
in arms; they died together and now they sleep side by side. To
them we have a solemn obligation -- the obligation to insure that
their sacrifice will help to make this a better and safer world
in which to live.
Now we turn to the great tasks of reconstruction and restoration.
I am confident that we will be able to apply the same skill, resourcefulness
and keen thinking to these problems as were applied to the problems
of winning the victory."
The following is quoted from the Navy Office of Information:
"On October 5, 1945, which had been officially designated
as "Nimitz Day" in Washington, D. C., Admiral Nimitz
was personally presented a Gold Star in lieu of the third Distinguished
Service Medal by the President of the United States, Harry S.
Truman. For exceptional meritorious service as Commander in Chief,
U. S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, from June 1944 to
August 1945..." The citation further states:
"Initiating the final phase in the battle for victory in
the Pacific, (he) attacked the Marianas, invading Saipan, inflicting
a decisive defeat in the Japanese Fleet in the First Battle of
the Philippines and capturing Guam and Tinian. In vital continuing
operations, his Fleet Forces isolated the enemy-held bastions
of the Central and Eastern Carolines and secured in quick succession
Peleliu, Angaur and Ulithi. With reconnaissance of the main beaches
on Leyte effected, approach channels cleared and opposition neutralized
in joint operations to reoccupy the Philippines, the challenge
by powerful task forces of the Japanese Fleet resulted in a historic
victory in the three-phased Battle for Leyte Gulf, October 24
to 26, 1944....Fleet Admiral Nimitz culminated long-range strategy
by successful amphibious assault on Iwo Jima and Okinawa....finally
placed representative forces of the United States Navy in the
harbor of Tokyo for the formal capitulation of the Japanese Empire....He
demonstrated the highest qualities of a naval officer and rendered
services of the greatest distinction to his country."