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PEARL HARBOR - Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the 33rd commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, hosted the grandsons of the leader who defined that job seven decades ago, Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, on Aug. 30.
Nimitz served as the Commander in Chief for U.S. Pacific Fleet from Dec. 31, 1941 to Nov. 24, 1945.
Chester Nimitz Lay and his brother Richard Lay, along with their wives Marion and Jean respectively, toured the headquarters building where Fleet Adm. Nimitz worked and the house he lived in during World War II.
Haney took the opportunity to learn more about the man who directed the Navy's war effort in the Pacific and who signed the Instrument of Surrender as the U.S. representative.
"We shared personal insights on a legendary warrior who was so instrumental to our victory in the Pacific, and whose legacy we proudly preserve in the Fleet today," Haney said.
For the Lay family it was memorable experience to see where their grandfather worked and lived during World War II. They also saw photos, personal effects, and paintings that they had never seen before.
"It was a wonderful experience to see where my grandfather spent the first half of the war and see the memorabilia," said Chester Nimitz Lay. "Also, having lunch in the Nimitz house with Adm. Haney was a great experience as well."
During the Lays' first visit to Hawaii, they attended a ceremony, Sept. 2, to commemorate the anniversary of the formal conclusion of World War II on the pier adjacent to the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Following the ceremony, a nine-foot bronze statue of their grandfather was unveiled. The statue depicts Fleet Adm. Nimitz as he appeared at the battle of the Marshall Islands in February 1944.
"I continue to be humbled by the opportunity to sail in Adm. Nimitz's wake as U.S. Pacific Fleet commander and feel even more closely connected after having spent time with his descendants," Haney added.