Joseph Clark Bates, Jr., was born in Sparta, Illinois, on June 26, 1920, son of Joseph C. and Anna E. (Rheinhart) Bates. He was attending the University of Southern California, when commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve on April 8, 1942, and later graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science. He was promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade) on September 1, 1944, and to Lieutenant on February 8, 1949, and on October 1, 1956, was honorably discharged from the Naval Service.
Reporting for active duty in June 1942, he served until August of that year at the Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, then was assigned to the Naval Training School, Fort Schuyler, New York, until August 1943. He was at sea during the last half of World War II, serving on the Staff of Commander Submarine Division 201 until November 1943; as Assistant Torpedo Data Computer Operator on board the USS Sealion (SS-315) from November 1943 until February 1945; assigned briefly to Submarine Division 182; and as Assistant Public Relations Officer and Assistant Strategic Planning Officer on the Staff of Commander Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, from March until November 1945.
For outstanding service during the war period, he was awarded the Silver Star Medal and received Letters of Commendation with Ribbon and Combat “V,” from the Commander in Chief, Pacific and Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet. Citations follow, in part:
Silver Star Medal: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Torpedo Data Computer Operator, attached to the USS Sealion, during her Third War Patrol in enemy Japanese-controlled waters of the East China Sea Area from October 31 to December 3, 1944. Demonstrating a keen understanding of fire control equipment and proficiency in operating the computer, Lieutenant (junior grade) Bates rendered valuable assistance to his commanding officer during attacks which resulted in the sinking of 28,000 tons of enemy shipping and in the damaging of more than 25,000 additional tons. By his professional skill, courage and devotion to duty, (he) upheld the highest traditions of the US Naval Service.”
Letter of Commendation (Ribbon and Combat “V”) from CINCPAC: “For distinguishing himself by meritorious conduct in action in the performance of his duties in a US Submarine during a War Patrol of that vessel. As Assistant Torpedo Data Computer Operator, his keen understanding of fire-control equipment and proficiency in its operation, were of valuable assistance to his Commanding Officer in conducting attacks which resulted in sinking approximately 50,000 tons of enemy shipping…”
Letter of Commendation (Ribbon) from CINCPACFLT: “For meritorious conduct in the performance of his duties as Assistant Public Relations Officer and Assistant Strategic Planning Officer on the Staff of Commander Submarine Force, US Pacific Fleet, from March to September 1945. By his untiring efforts, devotion to duty and outstanding ability, he assisted in the formulation of tactics and long-range strategy for the deployment of submarines against the enemy. He skillfully performed his duties as Assistant Public Relations Officer in a most expeditious manner…”
In addition to the Silver Star Medal and Commendation Ribbon with Star and Combat “V”, Lieutenant Bates has the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.