On December 7, 1941, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, USN, was Commander in
Chief, United States Fleet, and Commander in Chief, United States
Pacific Fleet. Lieutenant General Walter C. Short, USA, was Commander of
the Army's Hawaiian Department. Later in that month, both were relieved
of their commands and reverted to their permanent, two-star ranks. Major
General Short retired February 28, 1942, and Rear Admiral Kimmel retired
March 1, 1942. Under the laws in effect at that time, Admiral Kimmel
retired as a Rear Admiral and General Short retired as a Major General,
both two-star ranks.  General Short died in 1949 and Admiral Kimmel
died in 1968.
Since the end of World War II, Admiral Kimmel, General Short, and their
families have requested on several occasions that action be taken to
advance those officers on the retired list to the highest grade they
held while on active service. The requests were
 Under the law in effect when Admiral Kimmel retired, he retired in
his permanent grade as a Rear Admiral (Act of May 22, 1917, 65th Cong.,
1st Sess., Ch. 20, Section 18 (40 Stat. 89). Similarly, General Short
retired in his permanent grade of Major General (Act of Aug. 5, 1939 (53
Stat. 1214), as amended, Act of July 31, 1940 (54 Stat. 781); M.L. 1939,
Supp. III, Section 286).
A few months after Admiral Kimmel retired, however, a law was enacted
permitting any officer of the Navy who had served one year or more in
the grade of vice admiral or admiral to retire at that grade (Act of
June 16, 1942 (56 Stat. 370)). Admiral Kimmel was not eligible under
this law because he had served less than one year as a four-star
admiral. In August 1947, Congress removed the one-year requirement of
the 1942 statute; this made Admiral Kimmel eligible for advancement on
the retired list to four-star rank (Officer Personnel Act of 1947, Aug.
7, 1947, section 414, 61 Stat. 795). Although Admiral Kimmel has never
been advanced to four-star rank, he began receiving retired pay based on
the pay of a three-star admiral with the enactment of the Act of May 20,
1958 (72 Stat. 122, 130).
General Short was eligible for advancement on the retired list as a
lieutenant general with the enactment of the Officer Personnel Act of
1947. Like the parallel Navy provision in the same Act, no minimum time
of service in grade was specified. In June 1948, however, Congress
enacted the Army and Air Force Vitalization and Retirement Equalization
Act (P. L. 810, 80th Cong., June 29, 1948). A curious feature in this
law (Section 203(a)) gave the Secretary of the Army the authority to
advance any "commissioned officer of the regular Army . . . to the
highest temporary grade in which he served satisfactorily for not less
than six months while serving on active duly, as determined by the . . .
Secretary." The provision, which only applied to World War II service,
gave the Secretary of the Army the authority to advance General Short to
lieutenant general on the retired list. This 1948 statute still is in
effect, and recently provided the jurisdictional basis for the Army
Board of Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) review of General
Short's case. In that review (AC91-08788, 13 November 1991), the
majority of the ABCMR recommended the advancement of General Short. The
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (DA Review Boards and Equal
Employment Opportunity Compliance and Complaints Review), however,
rejected the ABCMR's recommendation and denied the request posthumously
to advance General Short on the retired list (memo SAMR-RB, 19 Dec
1991). The Secretary of the Army retains the authority to advance
General Short. The Secretary of The Navy does not have any similar
reviewed at the highest levels in the Department and the Executive
Branch. Each of those requests was denied , most recently by
President Clinton in December 1994 .
Early in 1995, Senator Strom Thurmond, Chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, and Representative Floyd Spence, Chairman of the
House National Security Committee, asked that the Secretary of Defense
attend a meeting on the issue with members of the Kimmel family . In
response to that request, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense John Deutch,
Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton, and Navy General Counsel Steven S.
Honigman met with Senator Thurmond, members of the Kimmel family,
historians and others on April 27, 1995. At that hearing, Chairman
Thurmond asked that the Department reexamine the matter . In
response, Deputy Secretary Deutch pledged that:
"...this matter will be examined without preconception, that the
judgments will be made fair on the basis of fact and with justice, and
that we will speedily arrive at the best judgment we can on this
In subsequent correspondence, Senator Thurmond asked that the
Department's review address the cases of both Admiral Kimmel and General
Short and that the review be conducted at the Office of the Secretary of
Defense level rather than at the Navy Department level . In response
to that request, Deputy Secretary of Defense John White asked Edwin
Dorn, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), to conduct
an independent review, and to report the results of his review not later
than December 1, 1995.  This is that review.
The purpose of this review is to ascertain and assess the facts and
policies pertinent to the requests to advance Admiral Kimmel and General
Short on the retired list, and to recommend appropriate action based on
 See, for example, letters from Secretary Cheney, October 23, 1989:
President Bush, December 2, 1991; Secretary Perry, September 7, 1994.
 Letter from President Clinton to Mr. Manning M. Kimmel, IV, December
 Letter from Sen. Strom Thurmond and Rep. Floyd Spence to Hon.
William J. Perry, February 8, 1995.
 Thurmond, Sen. Strom, and others, "Remarks at Meeting of the Office
of the Secretary of Defense and Members of the Kimmel Family Dealing
with the Posthumous Restoration of the Rank of Admiral for Rear Admiral
Husband E. Kimmel, United States Navy, April 27, 1995, Washington, D.
C.", Transcript, p.7. Hereafter cited as "Thurmond transcript"
 ibid., p. 7.
 Letter from Sen. Strom Thurmond to Hon. William J. Perry, May 17,
 Letter from Hon. John White, Deputy Secretary of Defense, to Hon.
Strom Thurmond, September 8, 1995
SCOPE AND SOURCES
Consistent with the Deputy Secretary's commitment to "producing a final
DoD decision that will be recognized as principled, fair, and based on
fact",  this review began with a compilation and exhaustive review of
the written record, and additional materials developed especially for
this review. Sources examined for this review include:
1. *The nine formal government investigations* of the events of December
7, 1941, culminating in the report of the Joint Congressional Committee
on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack (JCC). Although the JCC
report is a single volume , the current review is based on
examination of original documents and other exhibits in the entire 39-
volume hearing record , which includes the complete text of the
2. *Personnel records for Admiral Kimmel and General Short*, provided by
the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) . Service records of
Admiral Kimmel are complete. The formal records of General Short are not
in the NPRC files, and probably were destroyed during a massive fire on
July 12, 1973. However, the NPRC was able to reconstruct some material
regarding General Short from alternate sources at the NPRC and the
Department of Veterans Affairs.
3. *Unofficial Assessments Published since 1946*, including books and
articles. Among the books examined are Admiral Kimmel's own book,
published in 1953 and the recent volume by Captain Beach, written in
support of Admiral Kimmel and General Short .
4. *Materials associated with the several requests for advancement*,
including correspondence with the families, Members of Congress, and the
public; materials provided by the Kimmel and Short families; and other
5. *Activities conducted especially for this review*, including:
 U. S. Congress, Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl
Harbor Attack, Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack: Report of the
Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack,
Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 27, 79th Congress: A concurrent resolution to
investigate the attack: on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and events
and circumstances relating thereto, July 20, 1946. Also reprinted
by Aegean Park: Press, Laguna Hills, CA, 1994
 U. S. Congress, Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl
Harbor Attack:, Pearl Harbor Attack, Hearings, 39 volumes; hereafter
cited as PHA
 Letter from Clifford G. Amsler, Jr., Assistant Director for
Military Records, National Personnel Records Center, to Commander Rodger
Scott, USN, November 3, 1995, with enclosures
 Kimmel, Husband E., Admiral Kimmel's Story, Chicago, Henry Regnery,
 Beach, Edward L., Scapegoats; A Defense of Kimmel and Short at
Pearl Harbor. Annapolis, Naval Institute Press, 1994
+ *Meetings with the Families* of Admiral Kimmel on November 20, 1995,
and of General Short on November 21, 1995.
+ *Review of contemporaneous accounts*, including newspapers such as the
Honolulu Advertiser, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and the New York Times
for 1941 and 1942, and references in those papers to Admiral Kimmel and
General Short to the present.
+ *Review of supplementary materials regarding accountability* and
responsibility provided by the Military Department Judge Advocates
General and by the Service Academies.
+ *An On-Site Survey of Pearl Harbor*, including visits to Pearl Harbor,
Hickam and Wheeler Air Bases, and Schofield Barracks, and discussions
with Park Service, Army, and Air Force historians.
The events associated with Pearl Harbor are numerous, and the record of
investigations voluminous. To assist the reader, the pertinent
investigations are summarized in Figure 1.
Fig. 1. CHRONOLOGY
1. KNOX INVESTIGATION
Dec. 9-14, 1941
ADM KIMMEL RELIEVED <---------------|---------------->LTG SHORT RELIEVED
Dec. 16, 1941 | Dec. 16, 1941
2. ROBERTS COMMISSION
Dec. 18, 1941 - January 23, 1942
RADM KIMMEL RETIRES <---------------|---------------->MG SHORT RETIRES
Mar. 1, 1942 | Feb. 28, 1942
3. HART INVESTIGATION |
Feb. 12- June 15. 1944 |--------------------
| | |
5. NAVY COURT OF INQUIRY 4. ARMY PEARL HARBOR BOARD |
Jul. 24- Oct. 19, 1944 Jul. 20- Oct. 20, 1944 |
| | |
| | 6. CLARKE INVESTIGATION
| | Aug. 4- Sep. 20. 1944
| | |
8. HEWITT INQUIRY 7. CLAUSEN INVESTIGATION |
May 14- July 11, 1945 Jan. 24- Sep. 12, 1945 ------
-- 9. JOINT CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE --
Nov 15, 1945- May 23, 1946
As Deputy Secretary Deutch noted in the recent meeting hosted by Senator
Thurmond, the issue turns on a balancing of accountability and fairness
. Accordingly, following this introduction the bulk of this report
is devoted to a review of the record and an assessment of
accountability, responsibility, and fairness in three distinct venues.
The retirement of Admiral Kimmel as a Rear Admiral and of General Short
as a Major General was the direct result of two personnel actions in
each case: relief from their Pearl Harbor commands in December, 1941,
and retirements in February and March, 1942. After the war, legislation
was enacted which would have made possible their advancement on the
retired list; however, officials at the time declined to do so. Section
II of this review addresses those personnel actions.
Much of the debate on the fairness to Admiral Kimmel and General Short
has centered on the findings of the several formal investigations. 
Section III of this review addresses those investigations.
The families are concerned with the "stigma and obloquy" flowing from
early charges  and their persistent effect on public opinion. Thus,
it is not sufficient to review only the personnel actions and
investigations which constitute the Government's formal actions in these
cases, so Section IV of this review addresses the "court of public
The final section of this review addresses options for further action.
 Thurmond transcript, p. 67
 For example, Mr. Edward R. Kimmel has stated. "the Roberts
Commission...dereliction of duty charge is the genesis Of the injustice
done to Admiral Kimmel". Thurmond transcript. p. 18
 Mr. Edward R. Kimmel, Thurmond transcript, p. 19
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