Joe Warren Stryker papers

Manuscript Collection #339
Stryker, Joe Warren, 1904-1980
Physical description
0.11 Cubic Feet, 31 items , consisting of a diary, copy of a manuscript, bulletins, newsletters, photographs, and miscellaneous material.
Preferred Citation
Joe Warren Stryker papers (#339), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1925-1978) consisting of a diary, copy of a manuscript, bulletins, newsletters, photographs, and miscellaneous material.

Biographical/historical information

Rear Admiral Joe Warren Stryker (1904-1980) was a 1925 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. In the course of his naval career he served in the Asiatic Squadron in the Pacific Islands, on patrol duty on the Yangtze River in China, as communications officer in a submarine squadron in Hawaii, as navigator on the U.S.S. NORTH CAROLINA, as a teacher at the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval War College, and as a commander of amphibious operations. He served on a variety of other ships including the battleship WEST VIRGINIA, the armored cruiser PITTSBURGH, the destroyers HULBERT and TRENTON, the river patrol gunboat FREMONT .

Scope and arrangement

Diary entries (25 December 1941-30 January 1943) reflect experiences as a navigator on board the U.S.S.

Stryker perfected navigation skills on shakedown training cruises in the Atlantic. During this period Stryker commented on the instability of Admiral John W. Wilcox (14 March 1942), the fact that they were being trailed by German submarines, and the NORTH CAROLINA 's voyage to California and Hawaii.

Other entries record his experiences in the Pacific. Naval engagements participated in include Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Noumea, and Espiritu Santo ("Torpedo Junction") where the NORTH CAROLINA was damaged by a Japanese torpedo. Also found in the diary are eight pages of "lessons learned" in the war, dating through 1942. These include critiques of recommendations for maneuvers, criticism of Navy search and attack methods, and heavy criticism of Army Air Corps tactics. Various entries also describe shipboard life and leisure activities of naval officers during World War II.

A photocopy of a manuscript entitled "China Ensign" contains reflections of Stryker's experiences as an ensign in the Asiatic Squadron (1927-1930). The manuscript was apparently intended for publication. In the interest of literary style, Stryker has written much of the manuscript in the form of dialogue and has changed the names of certain characters. The manuscript contains many anecdotes of incidents occurring during duty aboard the U.S.S. PITTSBURGH, and the destroyers TRENTON and HULBERT in the South Pacific Islands. His experiences during river patrol duty on the Yangtze River, on board the U.S.S. PENGUIN, make up the main body of the reminiscences. Also included are experiences in Indochina, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan. Much insight is given into the life of the sailors on river duty, the daily lives of Chinese peasants and city dwellers, and the relationship between American sailors and the Chinese people. Stryker includes personal observations and opinions on the revolution then taking place under Chiang Kai-shek.

Miscellaneous material includes a copy of an accident report form concerning a truck accident witnessed by Stryker in Havana, Cuba, and a rough draft of a resume (ca. 1955) giving a chronological list of his assignments in the Navy. A government pamphlet written by Stryker (1950) is included which advises young officers to invest in buying homes early in their military careers. There are three bulletins included in the collection: a decommissioning program for the amphibious command ship U.S.S. FREMONT, on which Stryker served; a bulletin for the Military Order of the Carabao, whose membership was open to all military officers serving in the Philippines; and a bulletin for the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps, containing a photograph of Stryker and a story of the salvage of a crash-landed airplane (Sept. 1950). A pamphlet commemorating a cruise to Hawaii aboard the U.S.S. WYOMING, undertaken by the Naval Academy Class of 1925 midshipmen, is also included.

Photographs in the collection consist of an aerial shot of Honolulu Harbor in Hawaii (11 November 1924); Nuvanu Valley taken from Honolulu Harbor (6 February 1924); a photograph of a painting of Admiral R. A. Spruance; and an oversized photograph of a naval scene painted by Edward T. Gromore.

A final group of material is a series of newsletters entitled "Chick Feed," written by Stryker to advise and assist the widows of members of the Naval Academy Class of 1925 (March 1972-October 1978).

See Oral History Collection (O.H. 53) for additional information on Stryker.

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 5, 1977, 1 item; Manuscript (photocopy) account of experiences while on duty in China

June 1, 1977 (Addition), 1 item; War diary (1941-1942). Gift of Rear Admiral J. W. Stryker, Alexandria, Va.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Rear Admiral J. W. Stryker

Processing information

Processed by B. Terrell, April 1984

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Stryker, Joe Warren, 1904-1980
Corporate Names
Hulbert (Ship)
North Carolina (Battleship : BB-55)
Penguin (Ship : AM-33)
Pittsburgh (Armored cruiser 4)
Trenton (Light cruiser)
United States. Navy--Officers--Military life
United States. Navy. Asiatic Squadron
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Pacific Area
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
China--Description and travel