CHEROKEE VICE ADMIRAL JOSEPH “JOCKO” CLARK BORN—1ST NATIVE AMERICAN GRADUATE OF THE U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY
Born in Pryor, Oklahoma, he attended Willie Halsell College & Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State Univ.) before appointment to the Naval Academy in 1913. In World War I, Clark performed convoy duty in the Atlantic and commanded a destroyer. In 1925, Clark attended Naval Flight School. In World War II, he commanded aircraft carriers USS Yorktown (CV-10) & USS Hornet (CV-12) and was promoted to rear admiral in January 1944. In the Korean War, Clark led the 7th Fleet. His medals include: Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Legion of Merit. He retired as Vice Admiral in 1953 and chaired a construction & investment company. Clark was made honorary chief by both the Sioux & Cherokee nations. He also received the Elder Statesman of Aviation Award, National Aeronautic Association, in 1969. Clark died on July 13, 1971, in St. Albans, New York. In 1980, the Navy commissioned the guided missile frigate USS Clark (FFG-11) in his honor.
Source: James Childers, "Clark, Joseph James (1893-1971)," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved 8/7/2020, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=CL004 Photo: U.S. Navy, circa 1953. Public Domain.