Vice Admiral Paul David Stroop (30 October 1904 – 17 May 1995) was an officer of the United States Navy and a Naval Aviator. He held numerous high-ranking staff positions in aviation from the 1930s onward, including World War II service on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, he held various sea commands. From 1959-1962, he oversaw the development of the Navy's aerial weapons, including early guided missiles, as Chief of the Bureau of Naval Weapons. During the later 1960s, he commanded Naval air forces in the Pacific.
Early life and career
Stroop was born in Zanesville, Ohio, but grew up in Mobile, Alabama. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1926, then spent the next two years on board the battleship Arkansas (BB-33). In 1928, he served as a member of U.S. gymnastic team at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam.
From 1928-1929, Stroop received flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, and in 1929 received his wings as a Naval Aviator. His first aviation assignment was with Torpedo Squadron 9, based at NAS Norfolk, Virginia. In 1932 he was transferred to Patrol Squadron 10, also based at Norfolk.
From 1932-1934, he undertook postgraduate work at the Naval Academy. After completing his studies, he returned to Fleet assignments. He served from 1934-1936 with Bombing Squadron 5, aboard the carrier Ranger (CV-4). From 1936-1937, he was Senior Aviator aboard the cruiser Portland (CA-33). In 1937, Stroop gained his first experience in the Naval Aviation material establishment when he was assigned to the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer). He left BuAer in 1940 to join the staff of Admiral Aubrey Fitch, commander of Patrol Wing 2, based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In 1940, Stroop became Flag Officer and Tactical Officer of Carrier Division 1 at San Diego.
World War II
After the United States entry into World War II, Stroop was transferred to Pearl Harbor. In 1942, he joined the staff of the Carrier Task Force, aboard Lexington (CV-2) at Pearl Harbor. From 1942-1943, he served as Planning Officer to the Senior Naval Commander, Air Force, South Pacific.
He next gained his own command, serving from 1943-1944 as Commanding Officer of the seaplane tender USS Mackinac (AVP-13). Stroop spent the last months of the war in Washington, D.C., serving from 1944-1945 in the Navy Department as Aviation Plans Officer on the Staff of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, the Chief of Naval Operations and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet. In this capacity, Stroop attended the Yalta, Quebec, and Potsdam Conferences, later making a trip around the world to inform commands of outcome of the Yalta Conference.
In 1945, Stroop left the Navy Department to become Commanding Officer of the escort carrier Croatan (CVE-25). He served as Fleet Aviation Officer (later Chief of Staff, Operations), in the Fifth Fleet, based at Yokosuka, Japan, from 1945–1946, and then as Aviation Officer (later Assistant Chief of Staff) Operations to the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT), at Pearl Harbor, in 1946-1948.
From 1948-1950, Stroop served as Executive Officer at the Navy's General Line School in Monterey, California, then again took up his own studies as a student at the National War College at Washington, D.C., in 1950-1951.
In 1951, Stroop became Commanding Officer of the carrier Princeton (CV-37) in the Sea of Japan during the Korean War. Then, in 1952, he assumed command of the Essex (CV-9), and was promoted to rear admiral. In 1953, he left the Essex to become Commanding Officer of the Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, California.
From 1953-1955, he was Senior Member of the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Department, Washington. From 1955-1957, he served as Deputy Chief at the Bureau of Ordnance (BuOrd).
From 1957-1958, he was Commanding Officer of the Taiwan Patrol Force based at Okinawa, Japan. From 1959-1962 he was Chief of the Bureau of Naval Weapons.
Stroop served from 1962-1965 as Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC), and as Commanding Officer, First Fleet, Air PAC, with the rank of vice admiral.
He retired in 1965. After his retirement to the San Diego area, he was a consultant to Ryan Aeronautical and Teledyne Ryan of San Diego until 1992.
Stroop died on at the Coronado Hospital in Coronado, California, on 17 May 1995, aged 90.
Stroop was married to Esther Holscher Stroop from 1926 until her death in 1982. He was survived by his second wife, Kay Roeder Stroop; his two sons, two daughters, three stepdaughters, a stepson, 13 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.