Kimmel kin fights on

ROCK HILL, S.C. » The grandson of one of the two men blamed for America's lack of preparedness in the attack on Pearl Harbor will now take up the cause to clear his grandfather's name.

Manning Kimmel is the managing partner of Our Three Sons Broadcasting, which owns two Rock Hill, S.C., radio stations.

Kimmel is taking over the fight to clear the name of Adm. Husband Kimmel, who was commander in chief of the United States and Pacific Fleets when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Manning Kimmel's father, Ned, had tried for more than 40 years to get his father's rank restored. Ned Kimmel died Friday at age 83.

"My dad always said, "Maybe it will take your generation to finish this up,'" Manning Kimmel said. "I told my father, prior to him getting sick, 'I will pick up the baton and run with it.'"

In 1995, then-U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., held a hearing to discuss Kimmel and Pearl Harbor. Nine months later the Dorn Report found information was withheld from Kimmel and Gen. Walter Short, who was commander of the Army in Hawaii.

Both men were relieved of their commands and retired from active service two months after the attack.

The Dorn Report also noted that Kimmel and Short should never have been held solely responsible for the attacks and that responsibility should be broadly shared.

While the effort to have the two men's ranks restored has support in Congress, Manning Kimmel says neither former President Clinton nor current President Bush has shown interest in the request.

"What's happened is that we have been stonewalled not by either president, but by their staff who just arbitrarily dismissed us every time we ask them to consider it," Kimmel said.

In 2002, Bush's White House chief of staff, Andrew Card, said in a letter that after looking at the findings of the Department of Defense, the two commanders should be held accountable and that there was no "new or extraordinary" evidence to exonerate them.

Still, Manning Kimmel says, his family will push on.

"My dad spent his whole life on this. ... To his last day on Friday, he always wanted to know what was going on with Pearl Harbor," Manning said. "We will never give up.

"This is a matter of justice and honor for not only these two soldiers, but for this country. It is absolutely shameful how these men, these fine warriors, have been treated. They were never charged with anything. They were simply scapegoated."

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