George died March 15th, 1967 while serving in VF-33 onboard the USS America. He left behind a wife, a 2 year old daughter, and an 11 month old son.
From Joe Duffy, George's RIO in this mishap: "We were on the #4 cat around 12:30, just underway from a port call in Valencia. The post-mortem on the accident was that the port tow hook pulled out just as the holdback broke. The shuttle took off like gang busters and sheared off the nose gear. In the span if micro-seconds the centerline ruptured as we were careening down the deck with a plume of fireball behind us. Both of us yelled "Eject!" We had no command ejection at the time. I pulled the lower handle and got out just before the F-4 went off the forward of the angle. I caught a glimpse of it going toward the sea, nose down, banked to the left. George's canopy was still intact when it hit the water. My chute candled, but cushioned me enough so that water entry (just off the port bow).
A final irony (which I also saw in a deck crash in Vietnam) is that they recovered the helmet and mask.
Again, my best to you all. Hoist a couple for me."
From Clyde Ken (Hogie) Hogendobler:
I can tell you now from memory that your dad and I were scheduled as a section that fateful day, with your father, the flight leader - I was to be his wingman. He was positioned on the the No. 4 catapult and I was on No. 3 cat. Both catapults are on the angle portion of the flight deck. No 4 is outboard of No. 3 cat, and fires the aircraft almost straight ahead. No. 3 cat is a longer cat and fires almost down the angle. Hope you can keep up with all this and I will try to explain it in more detail later. Anyhow, I was new in the squadron. Your dad came to the east coast from the west coast and a Viet Nam cruise. Those pilots and crew members had a lot to teach us.