Joseph Henry Barker, Jr., was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, December 15, 1914, son of Joseph H. and Helen (Butterfield) Barker. He was appointed Midshipman after graduating from Roger Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, Connecticut, and entered the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on June 9, 1932. There he was a Midshipman Regimental Lieutenant Commander, and Literary Editor of the Lucky Bag. Graduated with distinction and commissioned Ensign on June 4, 1936, he was promoted to Lieutenant (jg) and transferred from the Line to the Civil Engineer Corps of the Navy in 1939. Through subsequent advancement he attained the rank of Captain, to date from August 1, 1954.
Upon graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1936, he was assigned to the USS New Mexico, flagship of Battleship Division 3, Battle Force. He was detached in May 1939, and the next month reported to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, for postgraduate instruction in Civil Engineering, graduating with the degree of Master of Civil Engineering in May 1942. There he was a student member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a member of the Society of Sigma Xi; and a member of Chi Epsilon, National Honorary Civil Engineering Society.
Ordered in June 1942, to the US Construction Training Center, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia, he was assigned to the SEVENTH Naval Construction Battalion. With that unit he proceeded to the South Pacific in July 1942, and from June 1943 to March 1944 served as Officer in Charge of the SEVENTH Construction Battalion. Upon his return to the United States, he had three months’ instruction at the Marine Corps School, Quantico, Virginia, followed by duty from July 1944 to June 1945 on the Station Force of the Construction Battalion Replacement Depot, Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California.
For five months thereafter he was assigned to the staff of Commander Construction Troops of the TENTH Army, Okinawa. He received a Letter of Commendation, with Ribbon from the Commander Service Force, Pacific, for “meritorious service in connection with operations against the enemy while serving as Construction Liaison Officer, and later Operations Officer for Commander Construction Troops, during the development and final stages of the Ryukyus Campaign…” The letter especially commends him for his demonstration of “keen judgment, outstanding initiative and steadfast devotion to duty under unusual hazards and arduous conditions of combat operations.”
During the period December 1945 until June 1946, he had duty on the Staff of Commander, FIFTH Naval Construction Brigade on Guam, and from July 1946 to February 1948 served in the Public Works Department of the US Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was next ordered to Washington, DC, where for fifteen months he was assigned to the Potomac River Naval Command in connection with the Naval Reserve Training Project.
A student at the Naval Postgraduate School, Annapolis, from June 1949 to May 1950, he continued instruction in Radiological Defense Engineering at the University of California, at Berkeley, graduating in May 1952, with the degree of Master of Bioradiology. In July of that year he reported to the District Public Works Office, Thirteenth Naval District, Seattle, Washington, for six months’ duty. While attached to this activity, he had temporary duty with JTF 132 in connection with atomic weapons tests at Eniwetok.
On December 8, 1952 he reported to the Office of the Atomic Energy Commission, Bettis Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in October 1954 he was transferred to the Division of Reactor Development, Atomic Energy Commission, Washington, DC Under orders of March 7, 1958, he now serves as Area Public Works Officer, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, with headquarters in London, England.
In addition to the Commendation Ribbon, Captain Barker has the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal. He also has the Navy Expert Rifleman and Expert Pistol Shot Medals.