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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. [1] 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 

[1] 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 

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reviewed at the highest levels in the Department and the Executive 
Branch. Each of those requests was denied [2], most recently by 
President Clinton in December 1994 [3]. 

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 [4]. 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 [5]. 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 
matter." [6] 

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 [7]. 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. [8] 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 
that assessment. 

[2] See, for example, letters from Secretary Cheney, October 23, 1989: 
President Bush, December 2, 1991; Secretary Perry, September 7, 1994.
[3] Letter from President Clinton to Mr. Manning M. Kimmel, IV, December 
1, 1994
[4] Letter from Sen. Strom Thurmond and Rep. Floyd Spence to Hon. 
William J. Perry, February 8, 1995.
[5] 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"
[6] ibid., p. 7.
[7] Letter from Sen. Strom Thurmond to Hon. William J. Perry, May 17, 
[8] Letter from Hon. John White, Deputy Secretary of Defense, to Hon. 
Strom Thurmond, September 8, 1995

Page I-3


Consistent with the Deputy Secretary's commitment to "producing a final 
DoD decision that will be recognized as principled, fair, and based on 
fact", [9] 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 [10], the current review is based on  
examination of original documents and other exhibits in the entire 39-
volume hearing record [11], which includes the complete text of the 
earlier investigations. 

2. *Personnel records for Admiral Kimmel and General Short*, provided by 
the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) [12]. 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 [14]. 

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: 

[9] ibid.
[10] 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
[11] U. S. Congress, Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl 
Harbor Attack:, Pearl Harbor Attack, Hearings, 39 volumes; hereafter 
cited as PHA
[12] 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
[13] Kimmel, Husband E., Admiral Kimmel's Story, Chicago, Henry Regnery, 
[14] Beach, Edward L., Scapegoats; A Defense of Kimmel and Short at 
Pearl Harbor. Annapolis, Naval Institute Press, 1994

Page I-4

+ *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                         |--------------------
         |                                     |                   |
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  ------ 
         |                                     |
         |                                     | 
         |                                     |
            Nov 15, 1945- May 23, 1946 

Page I-5


As Deputy Secretary Deutch noted in the recent meeting hosted by Senator 
Thurmond, the issue turns on a balancing of accountability and fairness 
[15]. 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. [16] 
Section III of this review addresses those investigations. 

The families are concerned with the "stigma and obloquy" flowing from 
early charges [17] 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. 

[15] Thurmond transcript, p. 67
[16] 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
[17] Mr. Edward R. Kimmel, Thurmond transcript, p. 19 

Page maintained by Larry W. Jewell, Created: 12/24/96 Updated: 12/24/96