Joe E. Chambliss
San Diego, California
Joe E. Chambliss August 12, 1921 - April 2, 2020 San Diego Joe E. Chambliss, 98, Captain US Navy Retired, passed away on April 2, 2020, from natural causes in San Diego, California. He was born on August 12, 1921, in Norfolk, Virginia, to parents Herbert and Irene Bergstrom Chambliss.The family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and then to Georgetown, South Carolina, where Joe graduated from Winyah High School in 1939. Enlisting in the US Navy, he spent the next 35 years in active duty, rising to the rank of full Captain.
Joe served in three wars: WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.Joe participated in the Library of Congress Oral History Project in 2005. His Naval history was recorded and is in the permanent record in the Library of Congress, as well as the National WWII Museum. In the Navy, Joe served on a total of 11 naval ships and was proudly a "Plank Owner" (first crew) on the USS Massachusetts (BB-59, Battle of Casablanca), USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Columbus (CA-74), and USS Carpenter (DDK-825). He was directly commissioned to Ensign on the USS Yorktown (CV- 10) during WWII in the South Pacific. Joe served on the USS Halsey Powell (DD-686, LT; Korean War), the USS Eversole (DD- 789, XO) and as Commanding Officer (CO) of the USS Currier (DE -700), the USS Ernest G. Small (DDR -838), and USS Skagit (AKA-105, Vietnam War)
He earned a BA degree from George Washington University after first studying at the University of California, Berkeley. Overseas duty was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as logistics advisor to the Argentine War College. His shore duties included Logistics Officer CINPACFLT in Honolulu, Hawaii, and four years as CO of NAD McAlester, Oklahoma. After Navy retirement in 1974, he worked for defense contractors and for General Dynamics Atlas Rocket division, after moving to Chula Vista, California. In leisure, he enjoyed fishing in Baja California, the Chula Vista Yacht Club, and listening to opera.
Navy decorations: Meritorious Service Medal (twice), Navy Commendation Medal (twice) with (V), Presidential Unit Citation USS Yorktown (1943-1945) with Star, and Korean Presidential Unit Citation. Campaign and service medals: Good Conduct Medal; China Service; American Defense Service (A); Atlantic Theater; North African Europe Theater (Star); Pacific Theater (7 Stars); World War II Victory; Navy Occupation; National Defense; Korean Service (2 Stars); United Nations Service; Philippine Liberation Ribbon (Star); Vietnam Service Medal (Star); Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation.Joe is survived by daughter Susan (Gary) Spoto, of Poway, California, one granddaughter, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Jessie Bender Chambliss and by his son Alan. Burial was on April 13 at El Camino Memorial Park; a memorial with Navy honors will be held when gathering restrictions are lifted. "May the winds be favorable and may time and tide be always on your side," Skipper.
Memorial gifts suggested to The San Diego Maritime Museum or to the USS Yorktown Association.
Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Apr. 26, 2020.