As we celebrate Veterans Day, we are delighted to announce that Rip’s latest commission will be a sculpture of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Rip was first contacted by the Naval Order of the United States, whose mission is to preserve and honor maritime military history, over a year ago. Many emails and phone calls were exchanged during the selection process, including a meeting with delegates from the Order who knew Fleet Admiral Nimitz personally. They spent a day with Rip touring his studio and learning more about him as an artist. This meeting was the final step in securing the commission and Rip has now been officially selected to create this anticipated sculpture.

Fleet Admiral Nimitz enjoyed an illustrious Naval career. He was born on February 24, 1885, in Fredericksburg, TX. He hoped to start his Army career by attending West Point. When this didn’t materialize, he tested for selection to Annapolis and was appointed. After graduation, he fulfilled his required two years of sea duty in the Far East and upon returning to the U. S., was ordered to submarine duty. Many years later he returned to land duty where he was assigned to diesel engine training; then back to sea duty to set up a submarine base in Pearl Harbor. Following this, he was assigned to the Naval War College, where his varied expertise was put to use studying Pacific Ocean war logistics.

At the height of World War II, he was promoted to fleet admiral—one among only four.  When the Japanese surrendered on September  2, 1945, on board the battleship Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, Fleet Admiral Nimitz signed the surrender document on behalf of the United States. Following the war, he was honored for his wartime service both here and abroad. He became a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations and worked to repair relations with Japan by raising funds to restore the Japanese memorial ship, Mikasa, and encouraging the return of any ancestral samurai swords that had been acquired during the war. He believed in the importance of turning “swords into plowshares”. Post World War II, he was often approached with business opportunities and prestigious positions, turning them down in consideration of “how the Gold Star Mothers might feel”. Fleet Admiral Nimitz died at his home in San Francisco on February 20, 1966. He was the last surviving five-star admiral. If you’d like to learn more about Fleet Admiral Nimitz, click here.

The Naval Order of the United States is the oldest American hereditary, exclusively naval society and has a dedicated interest in Naval history. It encourages the recording and preservation of that history. Rip will be creating this memorial to Fleet Admiral Nimitz in 1.25 life scale or about 8 feet tall and will be sculpting this piece at his studio in Troutdale. It will be installed at the USS Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii in late summer 2013.

To learn more about Veterans Day, visit the US Department of Veterans Affairs.