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Joseph C. Spitler oral history interview, June 5, 1991

Date: Jun. 05 1991 | Identifier: OH0125
Captain Joseph Spitler was born in Lufkin, Texas, and grew up in Florida and Texas. He entered the Naval Academy in 1937 and after graduating in 1941, he joined the USS OKLAHOMA (BB 37) in Pearl Harbor, where he experienced the Japanese attack on the harbor. After the attack, he was assigned to an emergency pool of soldiers and was sent out on board the destroyer USS WORDEN (DD 352), which participated in the battle of Midway, and later was capsized in the Aleutian Islands. Spitler and other crewmembers were rescued by the USS DEWEY (DD 349). He was then sent to Boston to put the USS HALL (DD 583) in commission. Spitler was involved in a variety of operations in the Pacific before being sent to Norfolk, Va., to train a crew for the USS ORLECK (DD 886) in 1945, and then to Seattle, Wash., to command the USS FIEBERLING (DE 640) in March 1946, which sailed to Shanghai. Spitler worked in California and Hawaii, and became flag secretary and aide to Admiral Francis Low. At the start of the Korean War he spent one year as an exchange officer from the Naval Academy to the Military Academy at West Point. During the Korean War he commanded the USS HYMAN (DD 732), and after the war took command of the USS DU PONT (DD 941), sailing from Guantanamo Bay to the Mediterranean. By 1960 he was a captain stationed at the Naval War College for a year and then working in Washington, D.C., with the staff of the Joint Chiefs. After leaving the Navy in 1968, he worked briefly in education and then in insurance. Interviewer: Donald R. Lennon. more...