George S. Gillespie

  Captain George S. Gillespie, USN (Ret.) died April 21, 1975 of congestive heart failure in the Coronado Hospital at the age of 85 and was buried at the El Camino Memorial Park, San Diego.
     Gillespie was born October 11, 1889 in Slater, Mo. He was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1912. While on duty in Paris in 1913, he became interested in flying when he saw a pilot flying upside down and doing all sorts of stunts. Two years later he began his own flying career at Pensacola, Florida making his first solo flight December 15, 1915. He received his wings as Naval Aviator No. 32 in 1916.
     Among the early craft he flew were huge balloons attached to ships off San Diego, which were used for night anti-submarine patrols in 1917. He was Commanding Officer of U.S. Naval Air Stations at Camp May, N.J. and Seattle, Wash. before retiring for the first time in 1933. Recalled to active duty in 1940, Gillespie was Executive Officer of The Naval Air Station at Pensacola during the early part of World War II and later served in the Solomon Islands. He received the Commendation Ribbon for outstanding service with Acorn Group 26 at Bougainville during the latter part of World War II. He is enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio.
     He is survived by his wife Opal, who resides at Coronado, California.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, March, 1976, Number 82
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