Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Clark, Joseph James

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Jocko Clark
(2012.201.B1434.0459, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).

CLARK, JOSEPH JAMES (1893–1971).

Joseph James Clark was born in present Pryor, Oklahoma, on November 12, 1893. His father was a Cherokee named William A. Clark, and his mother was Mary Poly Ward. He attended Willie Halsell College in Vinita, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) in Stillwater. In 1913 Clark received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. While a midshipman, he was nicknamed "Jocko." He became the academy's first American Indian graduate and was commissioned as an ensign in 1917.

During World War I Clark performed convoy duty in the Atlantic before becoming a destroyer commander. In 1925 he graduated from Naval Flight School in Pensacola, Florida. He became a naval air specialist and was instrumental in the development of offensive naval air power. He commanded the aircraft carriers USS Yorktown (CV-10) and USS Hornet (CV-12) during World War II. He was promoted to rear admiral in January 1944.

During the Korean War Clark was the commander of the Seventh Fleet. His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Legion of Merit. Clark's career lasted more than forty years during which he rose to the rank of admiral. After his retirement from the navy in 1953 he lived in New York City and was chair of a construction and investment corporation.

Clark was made honorary chief of both the Sioux and Cherokee nations. He was also honored by the National Aeronautic Association with the Elder Statesman of Aviation Award in 1969. Clark died on July 13, 1971, at the Naval Hospital in St. Albans, New York. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In honor of Admiral Clark, the navy named a guided missile frigate the USS Clark (FFG-11) in 1980.

James D. Childers

See Also



"Adm. 'Jocko' Joseph James Clark," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Joseph James Clark, with Clark G. Reynolds, Carrier Admiral (New York: David McKay Co., 1967).

Samuel Eliot Morrison, The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1963).

Stanley E. Smith, The United States Navy in World War II: The One-Volume History, From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1966).

Browse By Topic





The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
James D. Childers, “Clark, Joseph James,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=CL004.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.