Oral History Feature

Rev. Joseph R. Grosko: In My Own Words

By his own admission, the Rev. Joseph R. Grosko of Braddock, Pennsylvania was always breaking the rules and looking for adventure. That’s why his ordination as a Catholic Priest in 1959 and commission as a Navy Chaplain during the Vietnam War were such peculiar life choices for him.

In this TSVP Community Oral History interview, Father Grosko talks about his life before and after war. He discusses the role of combat chaplains with the Marines and aboard the USS Roosevelt—providing faithful counsel, hope, inspiration, and oftentimes administrative authorization for leave or discharge from the service. After twelve years in the navy, Commander Grosko moved on to regular parish life in Pittsburgh—duty that was safer and more stable, but wholly mundane and routine. “I should have stayed in the navy and retired,” he laments, not only for the pension but also the worldly adventure and travel. Father Grosko died January 6, 2020 at the age of 87.

This interview was recorded July 22, 2016 at Christ United Methodist Church in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. Todd DePastino of the Veterans Breakfast Club served as interviewer. Videography, sound, and editing by Kevin Farkas. This interview is a production of The Social Voice Project. ©The Social Voice Project, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

More TSVP Community Oral Histories



The Social Voice Project is a museum media service provider working with local history museums, historical societies, schools, and nonprofits to create oral history programs, community storytelling projects, and digital media tours & exhibits.


Pittsburgh Regional



Tell us about your local oral history or community storytelling project