April 21, 2024
Ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Rear Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was named commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT). He was quickly promoted to admiral, and his demonstrated leadership and strategic thought are worthy of in-depth study. Trent Hone has done just that, and his recent book, Mastering the Art of Command: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Victory in the Pacific, is an outstanding read about a fascinating military leader. Trent joins our editor-in-chief, JP Clark, in the studio to discuss the personal traits that made Nimitz effective, the evolution of his headquarters over the course of the war and how he leveraged his personal schedule and routine for success. It's a great discussion and a great read for future flag and general officers or anyone interested in senior leadership.

Ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Rear Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was named commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT). He was quickly promoted to admiral, and his demonstrated leadership and strategic thought are worthy of in-depth study. Trent Hone has done just that, and his recent book, Mastering the Art of Command: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Victory in the Pacific, is an outstanding read about a fascinating military leader. Trent joins our editor-in-chief, JP Clark, in the studio to discuss the personal traits that made Nimitz effective, the evolution of his headquarters over the course of the war and how he leveraged his personal schedule and routine for success. It’s a great discussion and a great read for future flag and general officers or anyone interested in senior leadership.

…And so there’s nothing but dejection, and this is felt not just at Pearl Harbor but also at the higher command in Washington, and so Nimitz has to figure out how to take the officers of the Pacific fleet and make sure that they are ready to confront the challenge of war.

By the way. If you’re interested in Admiral Nimitz’s recipe for his “CINCPAC Special” several reputable sources, to include the National Archives believe the ingredients are as follows:

Admiral Nimitz recipe for the Old Fashioned Mix which he calls “CINCPAC SPECIAL”

  • 1 clean one gallon jug
  • 3 quarts Bourbon
  • 1/4 of a fifth of gold label rum
  • Add sugar cautiously until you can just detect the presence of sugar.
  • Fill remainder of jug with tap water.
  • Desirable, but not necessary: drop two whole vanilla beans into the jug to stay for many refills of the jug. They last for years.
  • Pour generous portions over ice and serve it forth:

This recipe was developed by Admiral Nimitz when he was Commander in Chief of the Pacific at a time when liquor was rationed, a bottle a week to a man and frequently rum was the only kind available.

Trent Hone is a Vice President of Technology and Product Innovation with ICF International in Reston, VA, and an award-winning naval historian. His latest book, Mastering the Art of Command: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Victory in the Pacific War, is a detailed examination of Admiral Nimitz’s leadership during World War II. 

J.P. Clark is an associate professor of military strategy teaching in the Basic Strategic Art Program. He served in the army for twenty-six years as an armor officer and strategist. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in history from Duke University, an M.S.S. from the Army War College, and a B.S. in Russian and German from West Point. He is the author of Preparing for War: The Emergence of the Modern U.S. Army, 1815-1917 (Harvard, 2017). He is currently working on a history of U.S. military strategy in the Pacific from 1898 to 1941 that is under contract with the University Press of Kansas. He is the 3rd Editor-in-Chief of War Room. Follow him on Twitter @JPClark97.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo Description: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN (CINCPAC), pitches horseshoes at a picnic for the enlisted men under his command at Nimitz Beach, Oahu, Hawaii.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command

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