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Chester Nimitz was among the military titans who guided the Allies to victory in World War II. Born in Fredericksburg with little prospect of a college education, Nimitz won admission to the Naval Academy, graduating seventh in his class. On Christmas Day 1941 he became commander of the Pacific Fleet. Later promoted to commander in chief of the Pacific Ocean Areas (except for Douglas MacArthur’s southwest Pacific command), Nimitz led the offensive that ultimately resulted in the capitulation of Japan. In 1945 he became commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet. Admiral Nimitz State Historical Park in Fredericksburg, which honors his memory, includes the Japanese Peace Garden, a gift to the nation from Japan.