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
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:
'46 Memorial Article Project and his wife Petie
"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