Turner, Stansfield, Adm., USN (Ret.)

Turner, Stansfield, Adm., USN (Ret.)


After growing up in the Chicago area, Turner spent a year at Amherst College prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1943. His class of 1947 graduated a year early because the academy’s curriculum was shortened in World War II.  After brief service in the escort carrier USS Palau (CVE-122) and the light cruiser USS Dayton (CL-105), he was at Oxford University in England from 1947 to 1950 as a Rhodes Scholar. Subsequent duties included: 1950-51 as gunnery officer of the destroyer USS Stribling (DD-867); 1951-52 as aide to the CinCNELM/CinCSouth chief of staff, Rear Admiral Murray Stokes; 1952-53 as operations officer of the destroyer Hanson (DD-832); 1953-54 as aide to Commander Destroyer Flotilla Six; 1954-56 in OP-61, the Politico-Military Division of OpNav. From 1956 to 1958 Turner commanded the ocean minesweeper USS Conquest (MSO-488); was on the Pacific Command (CinCPac) staff from 1958 to 1960; and served as executive officer of the destroyer USS Morton (DD-948), 1960-62. He commanded the destroyer USS Rowan (DD-782), 1962-63; from 1963 to 1966 served in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Systems Analysis); and in 1966 attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.  Turner was PCO and first commanding officer of the guided missile destroyer leader USS Horne (DLG-30), 1966-68, including combat operations off the coast of Vietnam.  He served as executive assistant to Secretaries of the Navy Paul Ignatius and John Chafee, 1968-70.  He developed Project 60 initiatives in 1970 when Admiral Elmo Zumwalt became CNO.

After being selected for flag rank, Turner commanded Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Eight in 1970-71 and in 1971-72 headed OP-96, the Systems Analysis Division of OpNav. As president of the Naval War College from 1972 to 1974, Turner made fundamental changes in the college’s curriculum and requirements for student officers. He commanded the 2nd Fleet from August 1974 to July 1975 and then served 1975-77 as Commander in Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe. In his final tour of service, Admiral Turner was Director of Central Intelligence and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1977-81. The oral history contains detailed descriptions of his dealings with his Naval Academy classmate, President Jimmy Carter, and with Chief of Naval Operations Zumwalt.

Transcripts of this oral history are available in many formats including bound volumes, and digital copies.

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About this Volume

Based on 20 interviews conducted by John T. Mason Jr. from June 1981 to August 1982, the volume contains 937 pages of interview transcript plus a comprehensive index. The transcript is copyright 2011 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee placed no restrictions on its use.