Vietnam War

Oral History Interview: Joseph Rank

A man being interviewed on set

Joseph Rank Tim Meyers/Illinois Public Media

Assistant Professor of Naval Science, Joseph Rank, Lt., U.S. Navy. 25 years old.

Courtesy Joseph Rank

Joseph Rank of Urbana, Illinois served in the Navy from 1969 to 1989 and in Vietnam as a Naval Officer. 

He learned how to be a leader as an ROTC student at the University of Illinois. After leaving Vietnam, he became an ROTC instructor, himself. 

Rank emphasizes the confidence and leadership skills he gained from the Vietnam War. As an officer, he was responsible for 60 gunners’ mates and fire control technicians who operated the guns. Making precise measurements while getting little sleep was just part of the job. An inaccurate measurement could have devastating consequences.

He talks about how his career in the military shaped his life and how it also shaped his view of the War and the world.

Central Illinois Vietnam Stories - Joseph Rank