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Chester W. Nimitz

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It seems a long time since those busy days at Pearl Harbor

Chester William Nimitz, 1885–1966. American Fleet Admiral; Commander In Chief of Pacific Naval Forces in World War II. Autographed Letter Signed, C. W. Nimitz, one page, 8” x 10½”, on imprinted personal stationery, Berkeley, California, January 13, 1952.  With original mailing envelope addressed in Nimitz’s hand.

Writing to a former colleague in this letter, which has never been offered on the autograph market before, Admiral Nimitz recalls “those busy days at Pearl Harbor” during World War II.  He says, in full:  “Mrs. Nimitz and I greatly appreciate your thinking of us and sending us holiday greetings—which we most heartily reciprocate.  we hope that you and Mrs. McNamara and your family will have a wonderful 1952—full of happiness, good health and success.  It seems a long time since those busy days at Pearl Harbor—but please rest assured that I have not forgotten the fine work you did for us on that Board of Awards—a most difficult and somewhat thankless task.  I see many old shipmates out here—and hear from many more.  It was most pleasing to read recently of the appointment of Admiral Spruance as Ambassador to the Philippines.  /  With best wishes and warm regards, I am  /  Sincerely . . . .”

Nimitz was one of the United States’ greatest naval commanders.  Ten days after Japan attacked and destroyed virtually all of the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, Nimitz was promoted to admiral and named Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet. He thus drew the daunting task of assembling 1,000 ships and 2,000,000 sailors to face the Japanese Imperial Navy.  Nimitz carefully deployed the cruisers and carriers that remained, and despite the shortage of ships, airplanes, and supplies, he succeeded in halting the Japanese advance. Nimitz not only took command of the Pacific Fleet but was designated Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, which gave him operational control over all of the allied air, land, and sea forces in that sector.  As ships became available, he went on the offensive. In a series of victories at the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway, the Solomon Islands campaign, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle for Leyte Gulf, Nimitz pounded the Japanese.  He was promoted to Fleet Admiral on December 19, 1944.  His forces’ subsequent successful amphibious assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa drove the Japanese back to their home islands.

When Japan formally surrendered on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, Fleet Admiral Nimitz signed the instrument of surrender for the United States.

Nimitz was the third of four Americans given the five-star rank of Fleet Admiral during World War II.  The others were William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King, and William F. Halsey, Jr.  Nimitz was the last survivor of the group.  The rank is reserved for wartime, but despite American conflicts since World War II, there has been no Fleet Admiral since Nimitz’s death.

Nimitz refers to Admiral Raymond A. Spruance (1886–1969), who, under Nimitz, commanded U.S. naval forces at the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Philippine Sea.  Spruance was considered for five-star rank but denied it in favor of Halsey.  As Nimitz notes, President Harry S. Truman later appointed Spruance as the United States Ambassador to the Philippines.

Nimitz has penned and signed this letter in gray-black ink.  The letter has two normal horizontal mailing folds, which touch only six letters of the text.  Otherwise the letter is clean and bright.  The accompanying envelope, which was postmarked in Berkeley, California, the day Nimitz wrote this letter, has been cleanly opened at the top.  It has typical postal markings.  It also has some toning and some damp staining, particularly on the back below Nimitz’s printed return address.  The letter is in fine condition, and the envelope is very good to fine.

Unframed.  Click here for information on custom framing this piece.


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