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75 Years Later, Rock Hill Resident Reveals a Truth About Pearl Harbor

December 7, 2016 - Posted in Palmetto Scene by Kaitlyn Cannon

This December marks the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, a “date that will live in infamy,” according to former president Franklin Roosevelt.  His speech continues as he explains that December 7, 1941 is the day when “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of Japan.”

South Carolina Resident Manning Kimmel has a unique personal tie to Pearl Harbor. Sitting in his office at WRHI Radio Station in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Kimmel discusses his grandfather, Admiral Husband Kimmel, who he says was wrongfully accused of being “derelict” in his duty, an “allegation that was proven later to be without any foundation whatsoever.”  

Kimmel explains: “My grandfather was Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander and Chief of the U.S and Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. We all know what happened on that day of infamy and here we are, 75 years later, trying to correct the historical record as to what actually happened and why it happened.”

Kimmel says the biggest issue he has is that after the war was over, “the United States Congress honored all of the most senior Army and Naval officers by promoting them to their highest wartime rank; it was a way of saying ‘thank you’ for your service.” Out of the “hundreds and hundreds” of names sent over and approved,  “only two names were never sent over: Kimmel and Short.”

Kimmel explains that the people who were his grandfather’s commanding officers did not try to correct the injustice. They “opted to let the scapegoating continue.” The Defense Department has “acknowledged that Kimmel and Short were denied intelligence that they should have had, and that they never should have been held solely responsible since the responsibility should've been broadly shared."

Kimmel continues to discuss what he believes is one of the most interesting parts of the story, which is that “the Congressional Resolution passed in the year 2000, was the brainchild of former United States Senator Strom Thurmond, who served the state of South Carolina so well, former Congressman John Spratt, and a former Senator, now Vice President Joe Biden.”

One of Kimmel’s goals is to remind the Vice President about his role in the Congressional Resolution and “encourage him to try to bring this resolution up from the bowels of The Pentagon and get it on the Commander in Chief’s desk, and explain to him what this is all about.”

Kimmel then goes on to talk about his cousin Tom, who has also made efforts to correct the misconception about Pearl Harbor. He starts, “My cousin Tom is a retired FBI agent.  Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan were working on another book involving some type of a case, and they contacted Tom to talk to him about that case. In the course of that conversation, Tom told the authors that there might be even another good book for them to write about Admiral Kimmel.”

Through the research they completed to write the book, Robbyn Swan says they found evidence of “gross inefficiency of failings across the board in U.S intelligence and in the military in the months before the attack, all of which contributed to the disaster and many, many other people who should have born a share of the blame for the Japanese success.”

Co-Author Anthony Summers shows his support of the Kimmel family in correcting this injustice: “ In the year 2000, both houses of Congress voted for a resolution that they would request the president to restore Admiral Kimmel to his former four-star rank as an admira. Now that Admiral Kimmel is dead, this resolution was the best way to restore his honor. In our book, A Matter of Honor, we hope we transmit to the reader our conclusion that that resolution was exactly right, and that what the Kimmel family had been trying to do is absolutely supported by the historical evidence.”

Kimmel talks about the “incident that we had during 9/11, fifteen years ago” that gave America an “instant history lesson.” Kimmel goes on to discuss the efforts he has made to inform the younger generation of what happened at Pearl Harbor. He hopes that they will “be compelled, because they’re very cause oriented, to try to help me resolve this issue and get it fixed…I’m giving them the facts, I’m hoping they’ll decide on the facts, and take action by going to KimmelPetition.com. ”

When asked why he feels so compelled to keep doing this, Kimmel responds: “That’s exactly the same question that I asked my father years and years ago. And my father came out of his seat and he pointed his finger right in my face and he told me: ‘To a military man, honor is above life itself, and what they have done to your grandfather is strip him of his honor and effectively strip him of his life.”

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