University of Kentucky


Hall of Distinguished Alumni

Joseph Clinton Clifton

Born in Paducah, Ky., on October 31, 1905. Died, December 24, 1967. U. S. Naval Officer. University of Kentucky, 1926.

He entered Naval Service as an ensign in 1930 after graduating from the U. S. Naval Academy, and was assigned to the battleship Tennessee. He became a Rear Admiral in 1958. He graduated from the Naval War College in 1954. He was designated a naval aviator in 1932, and until 1942 served with a number of ships and flying squadrons, becoming commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 12 in 1942, serving until 1944, when he was named Commander of Air Group 12, which combined air groups from the HMS Illustrious and the USS Saratoga.

He was flight training officer, Naval Air Station, Green Cove Springs, Florida, 1944-45, and was executive officer of the carrier, USS Wasp, 1945-46, also serving as commanding officer in 1946.

He was assigned to the Air Warfare Division Office from 1946-49, and the Fleet Logistics Support Wing, Pacific Area, 1949. He was commander of Transport Squadron 8, 1948-51, also serving as commanding officer of the Seaplane Tender USS Corsair. He was Deputy Chief of staff training and Staff Commander, Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, 1952-53; Commander Naval Air Station, Memphis, 1954-56; and Commander, Barrier Atlantic, and also Airborne Early Warning Wing Atlantic and Fleet Air Detachment, Argentina, 1956-58. From 1958-60, he headed the Naval Air Advanced Training Command, and in 1960 commanded Carrier Division 7, the Seventh Fleet. Prior to retirement in 1963, he was Chief of Naval Air Technical Training at Memphis. He retired as Rear Admiral.

He later became associated with Litton as a Rear Admiral. He became associated with Litton Industries in Beverly Hills, California.

He was an All-Eastern fullback in 1929.

His decorations include the Legion of Merit, with gold star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, with gold star, the Air Medal (2), and the Distinguished Service Order (Great Britain).

Joseph Clinton Clifton was named to the Hall of Distinguished Alumni in February 1965.

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