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First Name: Joseph

Last Name: Stringham

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: S.

Date of Birth:

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served: 1961 - 1992
Joseph S. Stringham
'Smokin' Joe'

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1961

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Joseph S. Stringham is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1961. Upon graduation he received a BS degree in Engineering and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

In his more than thirty-two years of military service, Stringham commanded at every echelon from rifle platoon through brigade. This included command of the 75th Ranger Regiment; three US Army Infantry Battalions, including the 1st Ranger Battalion; and the US Military Group in El Salvador at a pivotal point in the war in that country.

His ability to lead from the front became obvious with his first active duty assignment in Korea as XO of the 7th Infantry Division Long Range Patrol Detachment, then as a rifle company commander in 17th Infantry Battle Group. His final command, almost three decades later, would be the gem of his military ambition; Commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

During thirty-two years of active duty, BG Stringham is credited with 42 months of close combat duty beginning during 1963-1964-1965 with the Special Forces in Vietnam, then again in Vietnam during 1967-1968 as Company Commander and Battalion S3 in the 31st Infantry Battalion of the Americal Division, and finally, Commander of the U.S. Military Group in El Salvador during the critical phase of the insurgency. Between Vietnam and El Salvador, and in the rank of MAJ and LTC, Stringham commanded three infantry battalions, culminating with the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. During this command, he was nicknamed, “Smokin' Joe,” a name that fit him well then, as it certainly does now.

Brigadier General Stringham served at the highest levels of the US Army staff in the Pentagon and as the Senior Military Attaché in the US Embassies in Brazil and Mexico. In the latter, he was the focal point for directing Department of Defense activities associated with the counter-narcotics interdiction effort in these regions. Over half of his military service was in overseas theaters ranging from East- and SE Asia to the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. He retired from active duty in November 1992

BG Stringham is an Airborne Ranger Infantryman who, as a Green Beret, organized, trained, and led in combat the first MIKE Force unit (an indigenous rapid-reaction force unit) in Vietnam. The MIKE Force became legendary in US Army Vietnam lore and was featured in the John Wayne movie, “The Green Berets.”

Medals and Awards

The list of General Stringham's awards complements his service as a both a leader and warrior. He holds two DSM's, four LOM's, and seven combat awards for valor, to include the Silver Star Medal. He also holds six foreign medals and awards, including El Salvador’s Medalla de Oro (Gold Medal), and foreign parachutist wings from seven allied nations.


In 1995, he was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame.

In 2010, he was inducted into the Special Forces Hall of Fame.

In Retirement

Since his retirement from active duty, General Stringham has worked in both the public and private sectors of the U.S. as well as overseas in Brazil, Mexico, Angola, and the UAE. He has been a frequent lecturer in numerous Latin American countries on the subject of “Strategy Development in Counter-Terrorist Operations.”

In addition to his degree in Engineering from West Point, he also has an MA in International Relations (Latin American Studies) from the University of South Carolina. BG Stringham is a graduate of the US Army War College and completed the National Defense University Capstone Course. He is fluent in Brazilian Portuguese and has a working knowledge of Latin American Spanish.

Personal Life

Smokin' Joe is married to Sandy (who does not cherish his nickname) and they have two beautiful daughters.

Origin of Nickname/Handle:
He was nicknamed, “Smokin' Joe” during his command of the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Honoree ID: 214218   Created by: MHOH




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