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Cold War Files: All Units: People: Charles Turner Joy

Charles Turner Joy
Charles Turner Joy
b. February 17, 1895 - d. June, 1956
Admiral, US Navy, 1933-1937; Commander, US Naval Forces in Far East, 1949-1952; Chief, UN Command Delegation to Korean Armistice Conference, 1950-1952; Superintendent, US Naval Academy, 1952-1954

Charles Turner Joy was born in St. Louis, Missouri on February 17, 1895. He Appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1916, and he was commissioned an ensign and assigned to the battleship USS Pennsylvania upon graduation. After earning a graduate degree in ordnance engineering from the University of Michigan and completing several ordnance–related assignments, Joy took command of his first ship, the destroyer USS Litchfield, in 1933.

Following assignment to the USNA in 1937, as head of the department of ordnance and gunnery, he participated in eleven naval combat engagements in the Pacific Theater during World War II, including Bougainville, Rennell Island, Guadalcanal, Attu, Saipan, the Philippine Sea, Formosa, and Okinawa.

When hostilities ended in August 1945, Joy was put in command of amphibious forces training in the United States for the planned invasion of the Japanese mainland. He then held such assignments as commander of the Yangtze Task Force and commander of Naval Proving Ground. In 1949, the admiral took part in the American occupation of Japan as commander of Naval Forces, Far East.

When war unexpectedly erupted in Korea, on June 25, 1950, Joy believed his naval resources inadequate to meet the challenges posed by the North Korean invasion of the South. Yet, through skillful coordination of the rapidly expanding American [and later United Nations (U.N.)] naval assets, the admiral was able to support friendly combat forces during the hectic opening weeks of the conflict. Concerns over a Communist Chinese invasion of Formosa (Taiwan) and possible intervention by Soviet submarines in the waters surrounding Korea forced Joy to look beyond strictly tactical considerations, while escalation into a global conflict remained a looming threat for Joy. Compounding these concerns was General Douglas MacArthur’s proposed amphibious operation at Inchon. Believing such an employment of forces was not feasible due to the hazardous sea approaches to Inchon, Joy and his staff nevertheless became totally committed to the project once it became apparent there were no other alternatives.

The stunning success of Operation CHROMITE at Inchon and the ability to overcome the multitude of demands required of allied naval assets during the first six months of fighting were tributes to Joy’s leadership and direction. As a result, the U.N. naval forces were prepared when Communist China intervened in the late fall of 1950.

The following summer, when fighting stagnated and negotiations opened, Joy was chosen to serve as senior delegate and chief of the U.N. Command delegation to the Korean Armistice Conference. In addition to his proven leadership and years of Far Eastern experience, General Matthew B. Ridgway likely selected Joy because his calm and unhurried manner inspired confidence in both superior and subordinate. Yet the admiral and his team of negotiators, limited by the United Nations to discussion and resolution of strictly military matters relating only to Korea, were hampered by shifts in fundamental negotiating positions dictated by the United Nations. While such modifications sought to prevent an impasse, Joy believed they furthered Communist delay of serious negotiations in the hope of gaining further concessions. Negotiations languished after the admiral put the final U.N. Command package proposal on the table in April 1952.

Frustrated by lack of progress, Joy requested reassignment and was tendered the position of 37th superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. Yet only one month after taking command at Annapolis the admiral was diagnosed with leukemia. He completed his tour as superintendent and retired from active duty in July 1954. Succumbing to the disease, Joy died in San Diego, California, in June 1956.

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