One degree of separation

I’m reading Gordon Prange’s Miracle at Midway, as preparation for the Battle of Midway Celebration I’m attending in less than two weeks.  Last year, when I went to the celebration, I knew the vague outlines of Midway (turning point in war, yada, yada, yada); this year, I wanted to know more.  It’s out of print, but if you can get hold of a copy it’s a readable and informative book.

One of the things I did not know when I started reading Miracle at Midway was the fact that Admiral Chester Nimitz was the Battle’s architect.  I have a silly connection to Admiral Nimitz.

When I was at college, I got a job as medical transcriptionist for two orthopedic surgeons.  I spent two very happy years doing part-time work in that office.  The typewriter I used (yes, young’uns, a typewriter) had hanging over it this picture of Nimitz accepting the Japanese surrender:


What made this picture different from other copies of the same photo was the fact that, written on it were the words:  “To Dr. XXX.  Thank you.  Chester Nimitz” (or something similar to that).  It turns out that one of the doctors for whom I worked had been Admiral Nimitz’s orthopedic surgeon in the years after the war.

And that’s my one degree of separation from the great Admiral Nimitz.

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  • Dfs

    If you haven’t I encourage you to read “Shattered Sword,” an account of Midway based largely on Japanese records.  Most of what we think we know from the Japanese side came from Mitsuo Fuchida, but the authors of “Shattered Sword” debunk several claims made by Fuchida.  Their discussion of Japanese doctrine and nuts-and-bolts flight- and hangar-deck operations and how they affected the battle are alone worth the read.

  • Gringo

    PBS had a  good show on the Battle of Midway some years ago.
    Admiral Nimitz was from landlocked Fredricksburg, TX, named for Prince Frederick of Prussia. The German influence is still strong there, as a German-surnamed friend who lives in Fredricksburg can attest. It is said that in Fredricksburg, the school principals hire German speakers to staff their bilingual teaching positions. :)

  • Zachriel


    BookwormAnd that’s my one degree of separation from the great Admiral Nimitz.

    That would normally be counted as two degrees. What’s interesting is that you are three degrees of separation from Franklin Roosevelt, which means you are four degrees from Stalin. Through Eleanor Roosevelt, who also knew Nimitz, you can get to Bob Hope and Groucho Marx. Shigemitsu led the Japanese delegation, and he had met the Emperor of Japan. 


  • Charles Martel

    Dfs, thanks for the recommendation. “Shattered Sword” goes on my must-read list.

    Zach, very interesting comment, especially when you point out that Eleanor Roosevelt, Stalin, Bob Hope and the Emperor of Japan could be so plausibly conected. Now I realize how many people any of us can be indirectly connected to simply by knowing one person.

  • Ymarsakar

    What’s a typewriter, Book? Is that where you type and write on paper at the same time?

  • Bookworm

    Yes, I was right about you young’uns.  I won’t even confuse you with the whole concept of carbon paper.

  • Ymarsakar

    Woah, you had carbon saving paper already? Amazing. I thought Al Gore’s generation was the only one big on carbon.

  • Ymarsakar

    I’m almost certain Gore can’t be more than 30 years old, given he was the inventor of the internet.

    But to think you guys in the last century had carbon free paper and carbon credit paper. That’s truly amazing.