(24 February 1885 20 February 1966)
10th Chief of Naval Operations
(15 December 1945 15 December 1947)
As Chief of Naval Operations, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz oversaw the integration of the Navy into the new Cold War defense establishment and its adaptation to new technologies.
Born in Fredericksburg, Texas, Nimitz graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1905. He spent almost two decades in submarines, service punctuated by instruction in diesel engines, study at the Naval War College, and tours as executive officer of an oiler and a battleship. Nimitz then commanded heaver cruiser USS Augusta, flagship of the U.S. Pacific. Fleet. In 1939 he was assigned as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the Navy named Nimitz Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and soon afterward Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas. In recognition of his superior leadership of naval forces during the victorious three-year Pacific campaign, in December 1944 Congress promoted him to fleet admiral. As Chief of Naval Operations at the dawn of the Cold War, Nimitz directed the forward deployment of naval forces to the Mediterranean and the Far East, worked to adapt the naval services to the joint requirements of the National Security Act of 1947, and promoted adoption of jet aircraft and other advanced technologies. In recognition of his accomplishments, the Navy named USS Nimitz (CVN-68), the first ship in a new class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, in his honor.
Source: Biography compiled by the staff of the Naval Historical Center.