Henderson native Adm. Kimmel remembered as effort to restore rank goes on

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HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) As we continue to honor the sacrifices made during the attack on Pearl Harbor, we have a look at the Henderson native who was in charge there at the time, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel.

The effort to have Kimmel’s rank of admiral restored to him by the U.S. government goes on.

It’s been 80 years since that day of infamy at pearl harbor.

“Admiral Kimmel was the commander in chief of the U.S. Navy Pacific fleet at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was a four star admiral,” said Ken Christopher of the Henderson War Memorial Foundation.

It’s also been that long since Adm. Husband Kimmel was made what many would call the scapegoat after the attack.

“He had what they called the Roberts Commission, and the Roberts Commission found him guilty of dereliction of duty which had only been done four times in the last two wars,” said Tom Jake of the Henderson Co. Public Library.

But as more information came out over time, including messages that never reached his desk before the attack, attitudes towards him changed.

“There were eight more commissions after that the next three years, and he was exonerated in every one of them,” recalled Jake. “All of the big time admirals exonerated him, right off the bat. Nimitz, who replaced him, said ‘There was no way he could possibly know about this incoming attack.'”

The statue of the admiral has stood along the riverfront for five years, and a historical marker marks the area where he grew up as the effort to have the u-s government fully restore Kimmel’s rank back to admiral continues, but Christopher says it hasn’t moved much in more than a year despite supporters and family sending more information to the government.

“Why in the world there would be any bad feeling right now in D.C. for those who are left?” he asked.

Christopher and other supporters hope President Biden makes it official to restore his rank nearly 80 years after it was taken.

“I truly hope that this ends an 80 years of treating Admiral Kimmel in a very terrible way, will end,” he said.

(This story was originally published on December 7, 2021)

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