Joseph C. Clifton
|Joseph Clinton Clifton|
Lt.Cdr. Joseph C. Clifton in his F2A Buffalo, August 1942
October 31, 1905|
|Died||December 24, 1967
Santa Monica, California
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1930–1963|
|Commands held||Fighter Squadron 12
Air Group 12
Transport Squadron 8
Carrier Division 7
|Battles/wars||World War II
|Awards||Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Distinguished Service Order (UK)
Joseph C. Clifton (October 31, 1905 – December 24, 1967) was a Naval Officer and Aviator of the United States Navy in World War II, ultimately advancing to the rank of Rear Admiral before his retirement in 1963.
Clifton was born in Paducah, Kentucky. He attended the University of Kentucky in 1926 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy, where he was an All-Eastern fullback, in 1930. Clifton was assigned to the battleship Tennessee (BB-43) and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1932.
He served with a number of ships and flying squadrons, including the VF-2 "Flying Chiefs". From 1942 until 1944, he commanded the VF-12 "Peg Legs" flying F4U Corsairs and later F6F Hellcats from Saratoga (CV-3). During this period, he flew a captured A6M2 Zero, obtaining valuable technical data that was used to refine fighter tactics against the Japanese.
In 1945, he was officer-in-charge of fighter indoctrination in Advanced Training, flying the F2F and F3F, at Naval Air Station, Green Cove Springs, Florida. In 1945-46, he was executive officer and then commanding officer of Wasp (CV-18).
Clifton was assigned to the Air Warfare Division Office from 1946–49, and the Fleet Logistics Support Wing, Pacific Area, 1949. He was the commander of Transport Squadron 8, 1948–51, also serving as commanding officer of the seaplane tender Corson (AVP-37) off Formosa during the Korean War.
Clifton was Deputy Chief of staff training and Staff Commander, Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, 1952–53; Commander Naval Air Station Memphis, 1954–56; and Commander, Barrier Atlantic, and also Airborne Early Warning Wing Atlantic and Fleet Air Detachment, Argentia, 1956-58. From 1958-60, he headed the Naval Air Advanced Training Command, and in 1960 commanded Carrier Division 7, the Seventh Fleet. He was Chief of Naval Air Technical Training at Memphis before finally retiring in July 1963.
Clifton's life is commemorated with a street bearing his name in his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky.
Rear Admiral Joseph C. Clifton Award 
The Joseph C. Clifton Trophy was awarded for the first time in 1968, to VF-51. The award recognizes meritorious achievement by a fighter squadron while deployed aboard a carrier.
- The award is in memory of Rear Admiral Clifton, who distinguished himself as a fighter pilot during World War II. His heroism and extraordinary achievements in flight paralleled the aggressive attitude and drive and inspiring leadership he displayed throughout his life. This award recognizes meritorious achievement by a fighter squadron. The trophy, sponsored by Litton Industries, is a 22-inch high hand repoussé silver bowl on a walnut base.
- "University of Kentucky Alumni Association : Joseph Clinton Clifton". ukalumni.net. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
- "Market House Museum : The Naval Career of "Jumpin" Joe Clifton". markethousemuseum.com. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
- "OPNAVINST 1650.24B". combatindex.com. Retrieved 23 August 2010.[dead link]