Smith, Harold Page (1904-1993)
Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Based on two interviews conducted by Paul Stillwell in July 1988 and October 1990. The volume contains 126 pages of interview transcript plus a comprehensive index. The transcript is copyright 2014 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee placed no restrictions on its use.
The main ingredients in this oral history are Admiral Smith's recollections of service in two battleships, the Arizona (BB-39) in 1928-29 and the Missouri (BB-63) in 1949-50. As a captain he commanded the Missouri until shortly before her grounding in January 1950 and then again shortly afterward to restore the confidence of the officers and crew. The admiral frequently went off on tangents during the battleship-specific interviews and discussed other tours of duty as well. He strayed to discuss his service in the fleet auxiliary ship Procyon (AG-11) in the mid-1920s, destroyer duty in the brand-new Farragut (DD-348) in the mid-1930s, command of the four-piper Stewart (DD-224) in action against the Japanese early in World War II, and command of Destroyer Squadron Four near the end of the war. In duty following the war, he talked about service as chief of staff to Commander Destroyer Force Atlantic Fleet and various Pentagon billets. He recalled being Chief of Naval Personnel when Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz made a touching visit to Smith's office following the 1959 funeral of Fleet Admiral William Halsey.