Brigadier General Harold H. George
U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) Far East Air Force (FEAF)
Harold Huston George was born 14 September 1892 in Lockport, New York. On July 5, 1916 George enlisted in the New York National Guard and was federalized and deployed to the Mexican border until October 5, 1916 and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
On April 15, 1917 enlisted as aviation cadet in the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps and completed flight training at Hazelhurst Field in Mineola, New York, received a rating of Reserve Military Aviator. On September 16, 1917 commissioned as 1st Lieutenant in the Signal Officers Reserve Corps (SORC). Afterwards to Kelly Field, Texas for additional training then overseas to Tours, France. In October 1917 became the Commanding Officer (C. O.) of the 201st Aero Squadron.
On June 20, 1941 he became part of the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF). Nicknamed "Pursuit George" to distinguish him from General Harold L. George nicknamed "Bomber George".
On December 29, 1941 Colonel Harold H George remains in Manila to command the remaining air elements left in the Philippines. On January 25, 1942 promoted to the rank of Brigadier General with his command post at Mariveles on the Bataan Peninsula. On March 11, 1942 evacuated from Corregidor aboard PT-32 to Tagauayan Island then transfered aboard either PT-41 or PT-34 for the remainder of the voyage to Mindanao then flown aboard a B-17 to Australia. Afterwards, General George earned the Silver Star for his actions on Corregidor.
In Australia, General Douglas MacArthur tasked George to tour bases using a Lockheed C-40 transport piloted by Major Joseph "Joe" H. Moore to various Allied airfields in the Northern Territory of Australia to boost moral and conduct strategic planning. His visit was documented by a small press corps including correspondent Melville Jacoby.
On April 29, 1942 in the afternoon Lockheed C-40 transport piloted by piloted by Major Joseph "Joe" H. Moore with General George aboard planned to land at Livingstone Field but could not locate the well camouflaged runway and instead landed in Batchelor Field near Darwin. As the passengers including George began to exit, a pair of P-40E Warhawks from the 49th Fighter Group (49th FG) took off together, the first P-40E Warhawk pilot Lt. Jack Dale followed by P-40E Warhawk pilot 2nd Lt. Robert G. Hazard whose right tire blew out causing the plane to loose control, swerved across the runway and crashed into the parked C-40 while it was still unloading passengers. Wreckage from the crash including possibly the P-40's wheel struck General George in the head and chest causing severe injuries. Two others standing nearby were instantly killed including war correspondent Melville Jacoby and 2nd Lt. Robert D. Jasper driving the jeep sent to pick them up. Afterwards,
severely injured George was taken to the dispensary at Batchelor Field for medical treatment but was transfered to the 119 Australian General Hospital (119 AGH) at Coomalie Creek Field for treatement by U.S. surgeon Lawrence Braslow but later died.
George was officially declared dead on April 29, 1942. On May 4, 1942 he was buried with full military honors at Springvale Cemetery at Christ Church in South Yarra near Melbourne. The services were conducted by U.S. Army Major John Kinney, chief of chaplains. The funeral was attended by senior Allied leaders including General MacArthur and Brigadier General Richard Marshall. The eight pallbearers were led by Lt. General George H. Brett plus Maj. Gen. Millard F. Harmon Millard and others who served with George in the Philippines. An honor guard of USAAF personnel was posted at the church and a firing squad graveside. Also in attendance were other senior Allied officers including General Sir Thomas Blamey, Vice Admiral Herbert F. Leary, Australian Air Chief Marshall Sir Charles Burnett and Lt. Col J. M. R. Sandberg.
Postwar he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 9 lot 5952.
During August 1942, a new airfield was named in his honor, George Army Airfield (George AAF) Lawrenceville, Illinois and closed in September 1945 as surplus and sold. The base was declared surplus in September 1945 and sold. In June 1950, Victorville Air Force Base (Victorville AFB) in California was renamed George Air Force Base (George AFB) in his honor.
Note, other sources state George died in the early morning of April 30, 1942 from his injuries
Chicago Tribune "Gen. H. H. George Funeral Today; Killed in Australia" May 26, 1942
Protect & Avenge (1995) page 49 (April 29, 1942), 50 (map)
Oz@War - General Hal George 2nd Lt. Robert D. Jasper, War Correspondent Mel Jacoby Killed in a Kittyhawk ground accident at Batchelor Airfield on 29 April 1942
FindAGrave - BG Harold Huston George (photos, obituary, grave photo) date of death listed as April 30, 1942
ANC Explorer -
Harold H. George (grave photos) date of death listed as April 29, 1942
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