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Joe W. Stryker Oral History Interview (#OH0053), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Joe Warren Stryker (1904-1980) was born and raised in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. He attended Culver Military Academy where he graduated from high school (1921) and subsequently was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy. Stryker graduated from the Naval Academy in 1925. During his naval career, he served in the Asiatic Squadron (1927-1930) in the Pacific Islands, as communications officer in a submarine squadron in Hawaii (1935-1939), and as navigator in the USS
NORTH CAROLINA (1941-1944). He also was a teacher at the Naval War College (1947-1948), was appointed to the Amphibious Warfare Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (1951-1953), and was attached to the Department of Defense in the office of Armed Forces Information and Education (1953-1955). He served in the late 1920s and the 1930s in the battleship
WEST VIRGINIA, the armored cruiser
PITTSBURGH, and the destroyers
TRENTON. He also served in the USS
RAVEN (1940-1941) and the amphibious command ship, USS
FREMONT (1948-1949). He retired with the rank of rear admiral in 1955. After retirement, he was trade associate for brick and tile manufacturers and developed an information service for widows of the Class of 1925 members.
Stryker elaborates on his experiences at the Naval Academy (pp. 3-7), including his midshipman cruises to Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia (pp. 7-9). He mentions seeing Hyman Rickover while at submarine school (pp. 12-13) and meeting with Count Felix von Luckner at Mackinac Island, Michigan, during the Depression (pp. 15-16). After submarine school (graduated in 1930), Stryker was attached to Submarine Squadron 4 in Hawaii (1935-1939) (pp. 18-19), and he describes his activities there as communications officer. He then goes on to discuss his command of the USS
RAVEN (1940-1941) (pp. 21-23), which began his work in the area of amphibious warfare. During World War II, he served as navigator in the USS
NORTH CAROLINA (pp. 24-27). He describes navigating in poor weather conditions with little radar. He then relates his experiences after the war concerning his years attending and teaching at the Naval War College (pp. 29-31) and later when he was in command of the USS
FREMONT (1948-1949) involved in amphibious transport warfare (p. 33). Concerning his tenure as Chief of Staff, Amphibious Group II in the Atlantic, he details the development of the amphibious operational training element for small craft just prior to the Korean War (pp. 35-37). Continuing his amphibious operations work he relates his experiences with the Amphibious Warfare Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in the early 1950s (pp. 40-41). Prior to his retirement, Stryker was involved with overseas education for the armed forces (pp. 42-45). During his discussion of this work he describes how he was instrumental in the development of the General Educational Development test (pp. 43-45) through the office of Armed Forces Information and Education, which was to be given as a high school equivalency test. He also discusses a problem he encountered while working in this office concerning frivolous accusations of communistic teachings (pp. 44-45).
One other topic Stryker touches on concerning his Naval career is the problem of alcoholism and the prevalence of stills kept by officers at Pearl Harbor during Prohibition (pp. 33, 37-38). After his retirement in 1955, Stryker was a trade associate for brick and tile manufacturers (p. 46), which experiences he describes briefly, and then he went into real estate.
The interview ends with a detailed discussion of his newsletter,
Chick Feed (pp. 46-49) which he put out for the widows of his Class of 1925 classmates.
For further information see collection #339.