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Adapted from "Captain Joseph P. Fitz-Patrick, United States Navy" [biography, dated 25 July 1958] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

  • Awards and Medals
  • Operations
Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
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  • NHHC-Library

Joseph Paul Fitz-Patrick

31 December 1914-30 January 1962

Photo of Captain Joseph P. Fitz-Patrick copied from the 1938 edition of the U.S. Naval Academy yearbook 'Lucky Bag'.

A native of Concord, Massachusetts, Joseph Paul Fitz-Patrick entered the Naval Academy in 1934, after a year’s entitled service in the US Naval Reserve. Graduated in 1938 his first assignment, which extended to September 1940, was in the cruiser Honolulu and later that year he completed training in submarines. In April 1941 he joined the submarine Barracuda, in which he was serving when the United States entered World War II, and remained on board until January 1943.

He continued duty in submarines throughout the war period, serving as Engineer and Diving Officer of the USS Haddo and Executive Officer, Navigator and Commanding Officer of the USS Paddle. For his outstanding services during three successful war patrols of the Paddle he was awarded the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Bronze Star Medal.

During 1946 and 1947 he was Flag Secretary to the Commander of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, after which he commanded the submarine Dogfish. In July 1949 he was assigned to the Naval reserve Officers Training Corps Unit at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts as Associate Professor of Naval Science and Executive Officer and between May and August 1951 he was attached to the staff of Commander Cruiser Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and also served as Executive Officer of the NROTC Cruise Able.

After duty as Operations Officer and Chief Staff Officer on the staff of Commander Submarine Development Group Two, he commanded Submarine Division One Hundred Two for a year, July 1953-July 1954. Completing the course in comptrollership at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., he reported in June 1955 as Program Controller in the Naval Communications Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department. In February 1958 he was ordered to duty as Commanding Officer of the submarine tender Nereus.

Personal Data

Born: 31 December 1914, Concord, Massachusetts

Education: Braintree (Massachusetts) High School; Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. (BS, 1938); Submarine School,  New London, Conn. (1940); Naval Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, Va. (1941); Columbia University, New York City (1946-1947-nights-MA); Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass (1949-1951-nights-work on Doctorate); George Washington University, Washington, D.C., MBA-Comptrollership


Enlisted USNR service, May 1933-June 1934

Appointed Midshipman, 8 June 1934

Commissioned Ensign, USN, 2 June 1938

Lieutenant (jg), USN, 2 June 1941

Lieutenant, USN, 15 June 1942

Lieutenant Commander, USN, 1 March 1944

Commander, USN, 5 November 1945

Captain, USN, 1 July 1956

Medals and Awards

Silver Star Medal

Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”

Gold Star in lieu of the Second Bronze Star Medal, Combat “V”

American Defense Service Medal

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal

National Defense Service Medal


Silver Star Medal: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as Commanding Officer of the USS Paddle during forces in the South China Sea Area from November 25, 1944, to January 18, 1945. Facing heavy gunfire from a strong force of screening destroyers, (he) close range, despite hostile countermeasures, and launched several torpedo attacks to sink a 10,000 ton tanker and inflict serious damage on an 800 ton destroyer. By skillful maneuvering he eluded efforts of the escort vessels to destroy his ships and retired her safe from the area…”

Bronze Star Medal (Combat “V”): “For heroic service as Assistant Approach Officer of the USS Paddle, during the Fourth War Patrol of that vessel in enemy Japanese-controlled waters, from June 5 to July 29, 1944. Skillfully performing his assigned duties during attacks, (he) aided in sinking one enemy vessel and in damaging another, thereby contributing materially to the success of the patrol…”

Gold Star in lieu of the Second Bronze Star Medal (Combat “V”); “For meritorious service as Commanding Officer of the USS Paddle during the Eighth War Patrol of that vessel in enemy Japanese-controlled waters of the East China and Yellow Sea Areas from May 15 to July 18, 1945. Availing himself of all possible contracts, (he) delivered five gun attacks which resulted in the sinking of a total of 850 tone of Japanese shipping, and skillfully evaded all enemy countermeasure…”

Chronological Transcript of Naval Service:

May 1933- Jun- 1934 5th Division, USNR, Boston, Mass (Seaman 2/c)

June 1934- Jun 1936 US Naval Academy, (Midshipman)

Jun 1938- Jun 1940 USS Honolulu (1st Gunnery Div. Officer)

Oct 1940 –Dec 1940 Submarine School, New London, Conn. (Sub. Training)

Jan 1941- Apr 1941 Naval Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, Va. (instruction)

Apr 1941- Jan 1943 USS Barracuda (Gunnery, Torpedo, Communications, Radio and Navigator)

Feb 1943 – Mar 1943 Staff, Commander Submarine Squadron 50 (Personnel and Secretary)

Apr 1943- Apr 1943 USS Shad (Engineer & Diving Officer)

May 1943- Jul 1944 USS Haddo (Engineer & Diving Officer)

Jul 1944- Sep 1944 USS Paddle (Executive Officer & Navigator)

Sep 1944- Jan 1946 USS Paddle (Commanding Officer)

Feb 1946 –Jul 1947 Staff, Commander Atlantic Reserve Fleet (Flag Secretary)

Jul 1947- Jul 1949 USS Dogfish (Commanding Officer)

Jul 1949- May 1951 NROTC Unit, Harvard University, (Assoc. Prof. Naval Science and Executive Officer)

May 1951- Aug 1951 Staff, Commander Cruiser Force, Atlantic (USS Missouri, flagship) (also Executive Officer of NROTC Cruise Able)

Aug 1951- Jul 1953 Staff, Commander Submarine Development Group Two (Operations & Chief Staff Officer)

Jul 1953 – Jul 1954 Commander Submarine Division 102

Aug- 1954- Jun 1955 George Washington University, (Student)

Jun 1955- Jun 1957 Office of the CNO, Navy Department

19 Feb 1958 (orders) USS Nereus


Published: Thu Jul 01 13:11:39 EDT 2021