Wheeler, Gerald E. (1924-2002)

Wheeler, Gerald E. (1924-2002)

Date Updated




Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of California (Berkeley), Ph.D. 1954

University of California (Berkeley), MA, 1949

University of California (Berkeley), AB, 1948

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1957-1983.

U. S. Naval War College, 1968-1969.

U. Philippines (Fulbright Prof.), 1963-1964.

U.S. Naval Academy, 1952-1957.

Administrative and Professional Experience

U.S. Naval Reserve 1942‑1946, World War II; 1946‑1963 inactive Reserve. Retired 1963, Commander, USNR.

Selected Publications

30 articles and 3 books:

Prelude to Pearl Harbor, U. Mo. Press, 1963.

Admiral William Veazie Pratt: A Sailor's Life, U.S. Gov't. Printing Office, 1974.

Kinkaid of the Seventh Fleet,Naval Institute Press, 1996.

Personal Commentary

Though born in Washington, I was raised in Missouri. I lived there until entering the Navy in 1942 for World War II service. During the war I was a naval aviator and flew blimps in anti‑submarine operations in the Atlantic. Later in the war I taught air navigation and then served as an air navigator in Navy transport squadrons. My last 6 months of active naval service, during 1946, were spent as assistant navigator of an aircraft carrier. After the war I served in a variety of naval air units until retirement from the Naval Reserve as a commander in 1963. My military service, both active and reserve, provided me with experiences which led directly to my decision to enter the teaching profession. Service at Moffett Field, where I learned to fly blimps, caused me to think of California as a place to attend a university after the war and also to think of San Jose as a place to teach 15 years later.

Following completion of my doctoral requirements in 1952, I accepted a teaching position at the U.S. Naval Academy. Annapolis was a good place to learn how to teach, and it also provided the research environment to become a specialist in naval history. After 5 years of "apprenticeship," I moved my family to SJSU, a change we never regretted. At SJSU I specialized in teaching American diplomatic history, but continued my research and publication in the area of naval history. While teaching, I served as Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies (1959‑61, 1964‑66),Assistant Academic Vice President (1967‑68), Chairman, Department of History (1969‑76), and Dean of Social Sciences (1976‑83). During my tenure at SJSU, I spent a year as a Fulbright Professor at the University of the Philippines (1963‑64); and in 1968‑69 as the Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History at the U.S. Naval War College.

In 1948, while attending the University of California (Berkeley), I married and we subsequently had one child. In time we have become grandparents of one boy. In retirement my wife and I have become genealogy addicts, a good outlet for a retired historian and a retired librarian. For outdoor recreation, I am a golfer‑‑a bad one.

Date Completed: 10/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Wheeler, Gerald E. (1924-2002)