Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William Lloyd Stearman
The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project
DR. WILLIAM LLOYD STEARMAN
Interviewed by: Charles Stuart Kennedy
Initial interview date: April 15, 1992
Copyright 1998 ADST
Q: This is April 15, 1992 and income tax day. This is an interview with William Lloyd Stearman which is being done for the Association for Diplomatic Studies and I am Charles Stuart Kennedy. I wonder if you would give me a bit about your background—where you were born and grew up and educated, etc.
US Foreign Service 1950-1978National Security Council Staff 1971-76, 1981-1993
STEARMAN: I was born in Wichita, Kansas because my father made airplanes. You may have heard of the Stearman trainer in which most of our WWII pilots learned to fly. My father was also the first president of Lockheed Aircraft.
Q: You were born when?
STEARMAN: I was born on June 22, 1922. So, as I said, we built airplanes in Wichita, Kansas which was then the aviation capital of the world, and still is for small aircraft. My father started a company in Northern California so I went to high school in Burlingame graduating in 1940. I started out to be a geophysics engineer going to the Colorado School of Mines. After Pearl Harbor, it was difficult to concentrate at such a demanding college; so I dropped out and tried to get into the Navy Air Corps, but failed the physical because of an ear problem and then went into the V-12 program. This was a program for people who were in college. The Navy wanted to keep them there until they finished. I was at Berkeley at the time and finished up there in an accelerated program in the fall of 1943, as a math major and history minor. I transferred to Berkeley because it was a lot easier than the Colorado School of Mines. It was a piece of cake by comparison.
Early in 1944 I was commissioned an ensign having attended midshipmen school at Columbia University and was assigned to amphibious training at Little Creek, Virginia and went out on the USS LSM 67 to the Southwest Pacific where I was in the first wave of seven assault landings.