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15725 Dorman, George Stanton
May 23, 1924 - August 04, 1969


Published Assembly Jul '91

George Stanton Dorman NO. 15725  CLASS OF 1946  Died 4 August 1969 near Chu Lai, South Vietnam, aged 45 years. Interment: West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York.

GEORGE STANTON DORMAN was born 23 May 1924 in Portland, Oregon. The youngest of three boys, George was always competing, usually unsuccessfully, with his two older brothers. George enjoyed being a Boy Scout and attained the rank of Life Scout. In high school, he played baseball. His brother Bob remembers the young George as energetic with an excellent sense of humor, having a love of animals, a quick wit and being very loyal to his family. He graduated from Ulysses S. Grant High School in Portland.

George's father was a Reserve officer who served in both World Wars. His counsel, together with his oldest brothers joining the Army Air Corps, shaped George's decision to enter West Point He spent a year at Oregon State College, Corvallis, Oregon, before he received an appointment to enter West Point on I July 1943.

George's cadet life almost ended right after it started. In August 1943, his brother Ted's plane disappeared. This tragic event almost precipitated George's leaving the Corps. However, he was prevailed upon to continue and had a relatively uneventful cadet life. Save for a brush with chemistry, he had no great problems with academics. However, his tremendous leadership potential was sublimated until he entered active duty. When the Air Cadet option was presented to the class, George took it and received his wings together with his second lieutenant's bars at graduation.

George took multi engine transition training at Enid, Oklahoma. Upon completion of his training at Enid, George was married to Mary B. (Petie) Procurat in Orange, New Jersey on 2 November 1946.

His first operational assignment was to the 63rd Bombardment Squadron, 43rd Bombardment Wing at Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona where he flew B29's. George's superb flying skills and leadership qualities were soon recognized, and in 1948 he was selected to be the aircraft commander of the KB29 tanker flying out of the Azores that refueled the B50 Lucky Lady in her historic nonstop flight around the world. In February 1955 George was assigned to Goose Bay, Labrador. In August of that year, he moved to the RCAF Station, Frobisher Bay, Canada, where he remained until April 1956. His next assignment was to Eighth Air Force Headquarters at Westover Field, Massachusetts where he served as executive officer to the chief of staff. July 1959 saw George and Petie move to Pease AFB, New Hampshire as a B47 squadron commander with the 100th Bombardment Wing. Later he became organizational maintenance squadron commander with the wing.

In August 1961, he was transferred to Headquarters USAF with duty in the Strategic Division of Operations. George had received "below the zone" promotions ever since his duty in Arizona, and the evidence of his growing reputation in the Air Force was very clear when he was made aide de camp to the Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis E. LeMay in 1962. He served in this position until 1965 when he was selected to attend the National War College. From there he assumed command of the 7272and Support Group at Wheelus Air Base, Tripoli, Libya. Prior to leaving for Tripoli, George and a classmate attended an annual instrument school refresher course. The classmate recalls that George told him then that he was looking for the toughest jobs he could find.

That George was marked for bigger and better things became more evident in July 1967, when he assumed duties as vice wing commander, 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, RAF Bentwaters, Woolridge, England. This, after nothing but bomber experience! Shortly after George joined the 81st, a classmate, Phil Safford, joined as Assistant Deputy Chief of Operations. Phil recalls that George had an exceptionally keen mind and could get to the heart of a problem before anyone else. His communication skills were superb and he never lost his poise or objectivity, despite many opportunities to do so. George's goal was to command a wing in combat. To that end, he volunteered for an assignment in Seventh Air Force in Vietnam, not so much for a staff job, but as he told Phil, "I am going to be in line on the spot when the next wing commander job is available."

George received his assignment to the Seventh AF Headquarters in Vietnam. His immediate superior was then Major General David C. Jones. George's orders from England to Vietnam were to report immediately, so Petie and their three boys were left to return to the States alone. In a tape to his mother on 8 June, 1969, George told her how worried he was about Petie and the boys having to make the move back from England on their own. He mentioned that in his latest communication from Petie, she had told him of a visit she had from the mayor of Ipswich, England and his wife. He told his mother that this man had been anti US, but thanks to George and Petie he had become a great admirer and friend of Americans. George was very articulate and in that tape expounded on his concern with the media comments on the conduct of war. He mentioned that he was happy in his job and how proud he was to be serving his country.

On another tape (30 June), George told his mother how pleased he was to have heard from Petie that made the move successfully and was safely ensconced in a house in Charleston, South Carolina. His big news, in this tape was that General George Brown, commanding general of the Seventh Air Force, had selected George to be the next commander of the 366th Tac Fighter Wing in Da Nang. Colonel John Roberts (now a retired general) was the commander and had been selected to be promoted to brigadier general. George was slated to go to Da Nang by 10 July 1969 to be vice to Colonel Roberts for about 30 days before he departed. George felt that he had reached the culmination of his career-- a fighter wing command in combat and was extremely happy with this opportunity.

George became vice of the 366th in July 1969. General John Roberts recalls that on 4 August George was flying a low altitude mission near Chu Lai. Upon return to Da Nang, George's wingman reported that when George came off the target, there was an explosion and fire in his F4. This had been an early morning mission; and about 1300 hours General Robert's exec, Bob Kelly (retired as lieutenant general), told him that there was a CIA agent to see him. It seems the CIA man had been in a helicopter near Chu Lai and had witnessed the action in which George had been shot down. He had seen the plane pull off the target, level off for about a mile --one chute out then the plane crashed. He gave General Roberts the coordinates of the crash. General Roberts called the Army for site security and was told he could have it for only one hour. A call was put out for volunteers from the 366th and six were selected, from the many who volunteered, to investigate the crash. This team located the aircraft and was able to recover George's body. They discovered that George had been killed in the plane and that one engine had been knocked out. The man in the back seat had tried to get the plane under control but waited too long to eject. George was survived by his wife Petie, three sons, George, Jr., Robert and William, his mother and brother.

There is no doubt that George Dorman was destined to rise to the highest levels in the Air Force. One of the brightest stars in the Air Force firmament was dimmed on that fateful day in August 1969 near Chu Lai, South Vietnam. General Roberts said, "George was very sharp-- he would have been a hell of a wing commander." His Air Force classmates appreciated his outstanding qualities as an officer and valued him as a friend. He was a professional to the nth degree.

George, in addition to being an outstanding professional airman, was a loving and caring husband and father. All three of his sons are serving their country in one of the Armed Forces. Petie recalls that after 20 years George is still a viable presence in their sons' lives.

George Stanton Dorman always lived by "Duty, Honor, Country." He believed that a man's word was his bond. He was dedicated to the service of his country. At George's funeral at West Point, one of the pallbearers was then Lieutenant General David C. Jones, later to become chief of staff of the Air Force and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In recognition of George's service with the 81st TFW, Phil Safford was asked to represent the wing at George's funeral. Phil recalls that he was honored to serve as a pallbearer at Petie's request. Phil's words, recalling that time, echo the feelings of all George's classmates and are a fitting tribute to one of West Point's own:
  "As I stood in the bright sunshine in that beautiful setting, I thought of how well George Dorman exemplified the kind of leader West Point produces for the service of our country; and for the first time, I truly understood the meaning of [Well Done!]."

  '46 Memorial Article Project and his wife Petie

Personal Eulogy

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