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George Stephen Morrison (January 7, 1919 - November 17, 2008) was a Rear Admiral and naval aviator in the United States Navy. Morrison was commander of the U.S. naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident of August 1964.
Early life and career
Morrison was born in Rome, Georgia to Caroline (née Hoover) and Paul Raymund Morrison, and raised in Leesburg, Florida. Morrison entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1938. He graduated in 1941, was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy, and was sent to Hawaii. Assigned to the minelayer Pruitt (DM-22) at Pearl Harbor, he witnessed the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.
In 1943 he studied flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida, graduating in spring 1944. Morrison flew missions in the Pacific Theater for the duration of World War II.
After the war, he was an instructor for secret nuclear-weapons projects in Albuquerque. During the Korean War, he was assigned to the joint operations center in Seoul, earning a Bronze Star for his part in combat operations against North Korean and Chinese forces.
In 1963, Morrison took command of the Essex-class aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard (CV-31), flagship of a 3rd Fleet Carrier Division (today's Carrier Strike Group) in the Pacific, and based at Naval Air Station, Alameda, California. Morrison was in command of the Carrier Division during the controversial Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, which resulted in a dramatic escalation of the Vietnam War. In 1966 he was promoted to Rear Admiral; at age 46. In 1972, he was appointed Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in the Marianas. As such, he was in charge of relief efforts for Vietnamese refugees sent to Guam after the 1975 fall of Saigon.
Admiral Morrison was the keynote speaker at the decommissioning ceremony for Bon Homme Richard, his first ship as an admiral, on July 3, 1971 in Washington D.C., the same day his son, Jim Morrison, died in Paris, France at age 27.
Morrison retired in 1975.
Captain Morrison and his son Jim on the bridge of the Bon Homme Richard in January, 1964
Morrison met and married Clara Clarke in Hawaii in 1942. Their son, James Douglas, was born in 1943 in Melbourne, Florida, where they lived at the time. A daughter, Anne Robin, was born in 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a son, Andrew Lee Morrison, was born in 1948 in Los Altos, California.
In retirement, the Morrisons lived in Coronado and Chula Vista, California. Clara Clarke Morrison, 89, died after a long illness in Coronado on December 29, 2005. Rear Admiral Morrison died in Coronado on November 17, 2008. His private memorial service was held on November 24 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. His ashes were scattered at sea near the same spot off Point Loma where his wife's ashes had been scattered nearly three years earlier.