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Matt Revington

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Nimitz Quote
« on: July 30, 2014, 11:08:37 AM »

Although I think the Saipan theory and its variants are nonsense for many reasons I have always wondered about the quote attributed to Admiral Nimitz in 1965;
 "I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese.". 

It would seem that he would be in better position than most people to know things of this nature.

Was this made up by Fred Goerner, was Nimitz prone to conspiracy theories or was he losing a few marbles by that point in time.  I searched the forum and the Ameliapedia for references to Nimitz but haven't found any so I apologize if this has been discussed here before.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2014, 11:37:40 AM »

I searched the forum and the Ameliapedia for references to Nimitz but haven't found any so I apologize if this has been discussed here before.

I don't remember it being a big topic of discussion ever.

Here is a Google search of tighar.org just using the word Nimitz.

I did that search through the Google widget on the TIGHAR search page.

There is a link to the TIGHAR search page at the top of every page in the Forum.  It is labeled "Search TIGHAR."
LTM,

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Matt Revington

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2014, 11:46:22 AM »

Thanks Marty. I found my answer in a response Ric made to a very similar question on the old forum in January 1999

"From Ric

If you'll go back and read the entire account of Goerner's dealings with Admiral Nimitz the most logical explanation seems to be that Nimitz didn't really know any more than Goerner did.  Goerner had managed to convince Nimitz that Earhart had ended up in the Marshalls, etc. and the admiral was trying to direct Goerner to people whom he thought could provide the proof Fred needed. Nimitz succeeded in getting the doors opened for Goerner and Fred had high hopes that the Marines would finally come clean about what happened to Amelia. However, when push came to shove, nobody had any information.

Nimitz seems to have been as frustrated as Goerner and actually tried to talk some of his old comrades into telling Fred what happened.  They insisted, however, that they didn't know anything.  Do you really think that a five-star admiral would urge his fellow officers to disclose classified information to a newsman? If Nimitz knew the real story, why didn't he tell Goerner himself?

I have a little bit of (anecdotal) inside knowledge of this situation.  Back when he was Senior Curator of the USAF Museum, Jack Hilliard was a good friend of mine.  Odd as it seems, Jack was a Marine and in the 1960s had taken the brunt of Goerner's badgering about secret Earhart files.  We talked about it at length in his office at Wright-Patterson.  He went on and on about the frustration of trying to convince Goerner that the Marine Corps wasn't hiding anything because there was nothing to hide.

The best evidence, however, that Goerner himself ultimately did not believe that Admiral Nimitz knew what he was talking about is the fact that, after further research following the publication of his 1966 book, Goerner himself rejected the notion that Earhart had come down in the Marshalls.

Goerner, and Nimitz, became tangled in a web of anecdote that led to nothing but frustration.  Historical investigations like this almost always start with stories.   If they're true, or even partly true, good detective work will turn up documentation (as we have repeatedly demonstrated).  If they're not, all that turns up are more allegations and stories which have to be accommodated by an ever more complicated hypothesis.

Love to mother,
Ric"
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2014, 12:50:58 PM »

Thanks Marty. I found my answer in a response Ric made to a very similar question on the old forum in January 1999

Just to make life a little easier for future readers, please modify that line to read like this at the end:

on the old forum, 4 January 1999:

Some tutorials, if you need them:

How to modify your post.

How to insert links into posts.

Once you've got a link to good information, it's a shame not to share it with the next person who comes along.  :)

LTM,

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Monty Fowler

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2014, 01:12:23 PM »

Thanks Marty. I found my answer in a response Ric made to a very similar question on the old forum in January 1999

"From Ric

Goerner, and Nimitz, became tangled in a web of anecdote that led to nothing but frustration.  Historical investigations like this almost always start with stories.   If they're true, or even partly true, good detective work will turn up documentation (as we have repeatedly demonstrated).  If they're not, all that turns up are more allegations and stories which have to be accommodated by an ever more complicated hypothesis.

Love to mother,
Ric"

And that, in a nutshell, is The Earhart Conspiracy Theory Industrial Complex. TECTIC is very much alive. As to how well it is ... I'm not a doctor.

LTM, who thought the Marshalls was a football team,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 ECSP
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Kent Beuchert

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2014, 12:54:34 PM »

It is perhaps worth remembering that Nimitz  was 81 in 1966, and took his
own life in Feb of that year, after surviving a stroke the previous year. What
effect that stroke may have had on his mental abilities I do not  know.
I would think he was merely repeating what someone had told him in the not-too
-distant past. If he had had direct personal knowledge, one would assume that
it would have been acquired shortly after the war, when the Japanese officials
and commanders were interviewed by Navy and Army historians. Certainly
there is no reason to assume that Nimitz knew any more than the casual newspaper
reader about Earhart's disappearance, which occurred long before he took
command in the Pacific, following Pearl Harbor, from a  desk job in Washington
as the Navy's  personnel director.
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JNev

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2014, 04:23:04 PM »

It is perhaps worth remembering that Nimitz  was 81 in 1966, and took his
own life in Feb of that year, after surviving a stroke the previous year. What
effect that stroke may have had on his mental abilities I do not  know.
I would think he was merely repeating what someone had told him in the not-too
-distant past. If he had had direct personal knowledge, one would assume that
it would have been acquired shortly after the war, when the Japanese officials
and commanders were interviewed by Navy and Army historians. Certainly
there is no reason to assume that Nimitz knew any more than the casual newspaper
reader about Earhart's disappearance, which occurred long before he took
command in the Pacific, following Pearl Harbor, from a  desk job in Washington
as the Navy's  personnel director.

Good points, but my impression had been that Nimitz had a fairly active operational career between the wars, but not to quarrel.

It is fairly clear that he was not in a place that made him an aware player at the time of Earhart's disappearance.  No doubt much began to surface to fuel the Japanese rumors after the war in any case.  Nimitz was certainly in a circle by then to have learned about anything he cared to about the navy's knowledge of Earhart - whatever it may have been.

That said, sadly, his age and what you mention are not easily separated and cause me to consider his words with reverent reservation.  I don't know the exact circumstances of his suicide - very sad, but my guess is that a man of such attainment and reputation probably struggled with conscious disability; the old warrier obviously still possessed the determination to carry out that act.  Sad, but I can only regard him as noble somehow - RIP - see post below - Nimitz 'senior' was not a suicide but died of natural causes.
- Jeff Neville

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« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 11:03:33 PM by Jeffrey Neville »
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2014, 08:29:54 PM »

It is perhaps worth remembering that Nimitz  was 81 in 1966, and took his
own life in Feb of that year, after surviving a stroke the previous year.

Kent, could you provide a source for the claim that Fleet Admiral Nimitz took his own life?
LTM,

Bruce
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JNev

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2014, 11:01:35 PM »

...and we are not talking about the same Chester Nimitz.

The renowned WWII Admiral Kent speaks of was the 'senior' - and died of natural causes in 1966 (I thought something was off... should have researched more carefully).

His son, "Jr" - was also an Admiral - and did commit suicide with his wife in 2002 - and was NOT the gentleman we are speaking of.

Sorry for the confusion.
- Jeff Neville

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Kent Beuchert

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 04:24:24 PM »

Thanks for calling my error to my attention - I had read of Admiral Chester Nimitz' suicide
years ago and obviously did not know that his son had also achieved the rank
 of admiral. It was not a case of "poor research" since you falsely assume that I was researching something. Nothing more than a simple case of mistaken identity. I can relate that
Nimitz thought that what befell Kimmel on Dec 7th "could have happened to anyone,"
which is proof positive that Chester held some massively incorrect ideas in his head,
despite the fact that he was right there on the scene shortly after the event and had access
to practically all of those commanders involved. Go figure. He wanted to go forward
and not dwell on the recent, horrible past, so he never investigated and corrected his
mistaken beliefs. He was, of course, along with Spruance, among the very best commanders produced
during a war in which so many were mediocre. There is probably no better environment
for producing wild rumors and fictitious claims than the military, as anyone who has ever been
in the service already knows.
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JNev

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Re: Nimitz Quote
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2014, 04:06:45 AM »

Interesting points.

As to the poor research, I meant mine, but appreciate your kind comments as to how the supposition came to be.  But, it came as a surprise to me (hadn't known of 'Jr's' situation either) and I should have been more attentive.

As to my "falsely" assuming that you were "researching something" - I 'assumed' nothing of the sort in particular, merely having believed that one would know of what one spoke of here before asserting something like that, that's all. 

Not to condemn for it, mind you.  But the point is that it is always in our own hands here, post-by-post, as to whether we elevate this place to some level of academic integrity, or allow it to sink into mere blogging where casual statements come and go with little regard.  In this case, the point of Nimitz' suicide was more than a passing thought - it was at least obliguely seminal to the notion of his potential impairment with regard to his statements on Earhart and the Marshalls. 

I tend to 'assume' the former intent - that of raising the status toward academia here, as it is more befitting the charter of this forum (not blog) as I understand it.  And I thereby take points such as you made as fact, i.e. 'well enough researched' - as would rise to the basic rigor I tend to see here; thus I also avoid 'false assumptions' as best I can - but am prone to error, just as you are, of course. 

So I think it is not a "false assumption" in this environment to do as I have, but a product of an expectation.  Shame on me for not having questioned it more by reason of my own mental blank at Chester Nimitz having taken his own life (had not known of Jr's plight, it came as 'new' information and it seemed out of character of what I had known of 'Sr'; alas...).

As to Nimitz' own comments regarding the Marshalls - for all I can know, his comment may have been truncated: perhaps he finished with (an unspoken?) - "...because I know that's what you want to hear, but it isn't so...".

Mists of war and adventure and time and of old men, I'm afraid.
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 08:46:18 AM by Jeffrey Neville »
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