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Nimitz Decorates Son and Captain Ernest Small

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SOURCE:
Newspaper Clipping from Pearl Harbor, Jan. 5th, 1943
By Walter B. Clausen

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific ocean areas, today pinned a Silver Star medal on his 27 year old son, Chester W. Nimitz, Jr., officer of a submarine which has been operating in enemy controlled waters in the Pacific since the outbreak of the war.

At the same time the admiral pinned a Navy Cross on Capt. Ernest G. Small, commanding officer of the cruiser Salt Lake City for operations in the Solomons which will forever emblazon the name of the cruiser in the nation's naval history as one of America's great, historic fighting ships.

It was in the night battle of Savo Island, Oct. 11-12, 1942 that the Salt Lake City probably save the cruiser BOISE and participated in the sinking of one enemy heavy cruiser, one transport and four destroyers, while another Japanese cruiser was badly damaged and several other Japanese vessels probably sunk.

The citation reads:
"For extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as commanding officer of the USS SALT LAKE CITY in the night action off Savo Island, British Solomons Islands, on the night of October 11-12, 1942.

Due to his aggressiveness and determined action, and through his skill and devotion to duty, a superior Japanese force heading for Guadalcanal was destroyed or turned back.

In one phase of this engagement his excellent seamanship was a deciding factor in protecting the heavily hit BOISE from further damage.

The success of this action prevented a planned Japanese attack on our positions at Guadalcanal and prevented the enemy from landing reinforcements on that island.

His conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval service." Naval service."


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Lt. Nimitz, who was next decorated, hadn't seen his father in three and a half years.

"He looks better than when I last saw him," the lieutenant said.

He couldn't say much about the operations between the time he was in Manila when the war started and his arrival here, but when asked what he thought of the enemy, he said:

"The only enemy we encountered proved to be a heads-up outfit."

The admiral, in presenting the awards, indicated that Capt. Small and Lt. Nimitz were examples of what he meant in his orders to the fleet to come to grips with the enemy.

"We can't defeat the enemy by propaganda, or shadow boxing. We must get them under our guns," the admiral said.

Lt. Nimitz revealed that his wife and daughter Frances, 2 1/2 years old, are living in Vallejo, CA.

Towering three inches over his six foot father, the young lieutenantís face was wreathed with smiles when the Silver Star medal was pinned on.

He was awarded the medal, his citation said, for duties aboard a submarine in enemy controlled waters from the outbreak of the war in an outstanding manner.

"Your efforts contributed greatly to the success in many actions of your submarine in sinking or greatly damaging much enemy shipping," the citation read.

Lt. Nimitz was graduated from the naval academy in 1936 and went immediately into submarine service.

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Contributed by Donald G. Loe
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