9May 1923 - 6 May 2017
|1961 USS Kearsarge Cruisebook photo of HS-6 Operations Officers|
|1964 USS Kearsarge Cruisebook photo as XO|
George Harrison Seidel, 93, CDR (USN Retired). Born in Hazleton, PA, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve during World War II, earning aviator's wings in May 1944. He joined VBF-8 in San Diego, trained in F6F Hellcat fighters in Watsonville, CA, and Maui, HI, and was sent to Saipan, finally serving in the occupation of Japan. Back home, he met the love of his life, Joan Watkins, and they married in 1948. Graduating from Penn State, he worked as a mechanical engineer until the Navy recalled him to active duty in 1951 for the Korean conflict. He learned to fly helicopters and joined HU-1 at NALF Ream Field near Imperial Beach, and then HS-2. In 1952 he participated in Operation Ivy, the first hydrogen thermonuclear test. His next duty stations included Bell Helicopters in Hurst, TX, Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, and USS Princeton in Long Beach before returning to Ream Field in 1960, and settling in Chula Vista. At Ream Field he served in HS-6 and HS-10, becoming CO of HS-6 in 1964-65. The squadron participated in recovering two of the Mercury astronauts aboard USS Kearsarge. While CO, HS-6 won the CNO Safety Award and the Battle Efficiency Award. Named XO of USS Tripoli in 1966, the ship deployed to Vietnam in 1967. His final tour was on the staff of Commander Naval Air Pacific at NAS North Island. After leaving the Navy in 1969, he became a field inspector for San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, spending fifteen years there. He and Joan traveled a bit after his second retirement, and enjoyed the visits of their children's growing families. Other interests in his long life included golf, oil painting, photography, and model airplanes. George is survived by children George, Jr. (Susan) of Burbank, CA, Deborah Todd (Tom) of Chula Vista, John (Elaine) of Rancho Bernardo, and Scott (Toni) of Santee, 12 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. His final resting place is Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, with his wife. A military honor service will be held on July 19 at 9:30 am.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on June 25, 2017