Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Statue
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in World War II did not stand eight feet tall. Nor did he weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds. And he was never made of bronze. A statue of him on the corner of Main and Washington in Nimitz Platz between the Command Post and the Nimitz Hotel fits all these descriptions.
The statue was commissioned by the Naval Order of the United States from famed bronze sculptor Rip Caswell. The decision to commission Caswell to craft the piece was an easy one. Rear Admiral Douglas Moore, Commander General of the Navy Order of the United States told Safari Club International’s Hunt Forever magazine:
Caswell’s ability, particularly in the eyes and in the facial features of his subjects, to capture the lifelike, true spirit of an individual, is one of the unique qualities that stood out and caught our attention in our national search and selection of a sculptor.
Although widely popular for his wildlife sculptures, Caswell has created numerous historic and commemorative monuments in his 20 plus years as a professional artist. He has crafted statues of former Oregon Governor Tom McCall, Oregon Symphony Maestro James DePreist, an Oregon Iraq War memorial, a 9/11 memorial titled “Strength of America,” which sits at the U.S. Pentagon, and many, many others.
Caswell’s work for the Navy Order of the United States shows Admiral Nimitz in everyday military khaki attire. Moore explained the reason for this was to show Nimitz, “…as he appeared during those difficult years” during his command in WW II. The statue was unveiled in Pearl Harbor on September 2, 2013, coinciding with the anniversary of the allied victory in the Pacific (VJ day) in 1945. The Nimitz sculpture stands at the Pearl Harbor memorial at Ford Island, Hawaii overlooking the USS Arizona. A cast of this statue was dedicated outside the Nimitz Hotel in Fredericksburg, Texas on February 7, 2014. Caswell said of the Fredericksburg statue and its location, “ It looks beautiful. I like the way he’s standing out there on Main, surveying the scene, and that people have their pictures taken with him all the time.”
One of the questions we get on a daily basis is, ‘Why is there a museum about the Pacific War in the center of Texas’. This statue helps to connect why we are here. Most people don’t notice this, but the statue is facing west to signify where he began and where he ended up. The statue is a great addition to our campus and to Main Street.
Brandon Vinyard Director Marketing, Public Relations Admiral Nimitz Foundation
Gayne C. Young is a graduate of St. Edward’s University, the former Editor-in-Chief of North American Hunter and North American Fisherman - both part of CBS Sports -and a columnist for and feature contributor to Outdoor Life and Sporting Classics magazines. His work has appeared in magazines such as Petersen’s Hunting, Texas Sporting Journal, Sports Afield, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Under Wild Skies, Hunter’s Horn, Spearfishing, and many others.