Greatest Generation Live

Every 4th Tuesday on Zoom at 7pm ET and simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

We talk all things WWII, with experts, authors, and WWII veterans.

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Historian Craig Symonds on Admiral Chester Nimitz on VBC Happy Hour – Monday, December 12 @ 7pm ET

Date: December 12, 2022
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom App, YouTube, Facebook
All Events | Greatest Generation Live | Online Events | VBC Happy Hour
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America’s preeminent naval historian (and Navy veteran), Craig Symonds joins VBC Happy Hour for a special program with Glenn Flickinger on the fthe man who won the war in the Pacific in World War Two: Admiral Chester Nimitz. Symond’s biography of Nimitz, Nimitz at War: Command Leadership from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay, is considered not only one of the greatest war biographies ever written, but a penetrating look into the elements of successful leadership in a complex military environment.

Only days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt tapped Chester W. Nimitz to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. Nimitz was not the most senior candidate available, and some, including his new boss, U.S. Navy Admiral Ernest J. King, considered him a “desk admiral,” more suited to running a bureaucracy than a theater of war. Yet FDR’s selection proved nothing less than inspired. From the precarious early months of the war after December 7th 1941 to the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay nearly four years later, Nimitz transformed the devastated and dispirited Pacific fleet into the most powerful and commanding naval force in history.

From the start, the pressures on Nimitz were crushing. Facing demands from Washington to mount an early offensive, he had first to revive the depressed morale of the thousands of sailors, soldiers, and Marines who served under him. He had to corral independent-minded subordinates―including Admiral Bill “Bull” Halsey and General Holland “Howlin’ Mad” Smith―and keep them focused on shared objectives. He had to maintain a sometimes-fraught relationship with his Army counterpart Douglas MacArthur, and cope with his superiors, including the formidably prickly King and the inscrutable FDR. He had to navigate the expectations of a nation impatient for revenge and eventual victory. And of course, he also confronted a formidable and implacable enemy in the Imperial Japanese Navy, which, until the Battle of Midway, had the run of the Pacific.

Craig Symonds’ Nimitz at War reveals how the quiet man from the Hill Country of Texas eventually surmounted all of these challenges. Using Nimitz’s headquarters―the eye of the hurricane―as his vantage point, Symonds covers all the major campaigns in the Pacific from Guadalcanal to Okinawa. He captures Nimitz’s composure, discipline, homespun wisdom, and most of all his uncanny sense of when to assert authority and when to pull back. In retrospect it is difficult to imagine anyone else accomplishing what Nimitz did. As Symonds’ absorbing, dynamic, and authoritative portrait reveals, it required qualities of leadership exhibited by few other commanders in history, qualities that are enduringly and even poignantly relevant to our own moment.

Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.

Filipino Stewards in the US Navy in World War II – Tuesday, December 20 @ 7:00pm ET

Date: December 20, 2022
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Zoom, Facebook, YouTube
All Events | Greatest Generation Live | Online Events

Glenn Flickinger welcomes Jeff Mossinghoff, whose grandfather was Conrad F. Castillo. Castillo was born in the Philippines, came to the United States as a teenager, and served in the Navy in World War II as a personal aide to Admiral William “Bull” Halsey. Jeff Ballard and Lars McKie, who is transcribing Castillo’s journal, also joins the program. Sponsored by D&D Auto Salvage and Tobacco Free Adagio Health.  Simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.