The Naval Order of the United States' most recent project was to install a statue of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz in a place of national prominence. The 9 foot bronze statue and black granite pedestal will be permanently installed on the shore side of Pier Foxtrot Five on Ford Island where the battleship USS Missouri is berthed. Over 500,000 people visit the battleship each year so the statue and its interpretative markers will have very high visibility. This pier is just aft of the USS Arizona Memorial on what was once known as ‘battleship row.”
The statue depicts the admiral as he appeared at the battle of the Marshall Islands in February 1944. His uniform is the wash khaki short sleeve shirt with no medals or campaign ribbons and just his rank insignia. The only embellishment is the belt buckle with twin dolphins indicating that he was submarine qualified. Leaning against the statue base is a horse shoe which was the admiral’s favorite past time.
The statue’s pedestal is absolute black granite which is the same granite on the Vietnam Memorial and from the same supplier. The Admiral’s quotation in gold leaf is a tribute to all those who died during the war in the Pacific, The quotation reads:
“They fought together as brothers in arms
They died together and now they sleep side by side
To them we have a solemn obligation
The obligation to ensure that their sacrifice will help
To make this a better and safer world in which to live.
Admiral Nimitz is arguably the most important American Naval Officer of the 20th century. His distinctive qualities included leadership acumen as a strategist, sense of the intricacies and requirements of logistics, organizational skill, military requirements, foresight, ability to accept and act on ambiguous intelligence and the profound facility for evaluating his subordinates with the willingness to make changes in his command structure where warranted. These qualities combined to establish Admiral Nimitz as the prototype of the World War II military leader and effective wartime decision maker.
Admiral Nimitz eventually commanded the largest ocean area and most ships of any single commander in the history of the world. He served as the strategic commander for the entire Pacific Ocean area for almost the entire war, and was the strategic decision maker for the important aircraft carrier actions including the Battle of Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. A total of 1,200 ships were involved in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
Admiral Nimitz directed the War in the Pacific and historians have concluded that he never made a single strategic error executing his strategy of the war. He was a true wartime admiral never content to remain desk bound at his headquarters in Pearl Harbor, traveling multiple times to the mainland to confer with President Roosevelt and CNO Admiral King, and repeatedly transiting vast distances to the latest battle zone to inspect the progress of his strategy and to rally the troops. His visits to Guadalcanal, Tarawa and the Marshall Islands, as those battles were still on going, are legendary.