Chester W. Nimitz. A career Navy officer who served aboard submarines during World War I, Nimitz in 1941 was officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Navigation (known today as the Bureau of Naval Personnel), and living in Washington. In the wake of the disaster, he spent several days updating casualty lists and notifying next of kin. On Dec. 16, he was named the new commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet. He arrived at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Day.
In 1944, Nimitz was made the third-ever fleet admiral, a five-star rank; and was aboard the USS Missouri at the end of the war. Three months later, he received a Distinguished Service Medal at the Legion’s national convention in Chicago, alongside such other great figures of World War II as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. He worked hard in the postwar years to “win the peace” by rebuilding the relationship with Japan. He died in 1966.