George C. Seay

George Cameron Seay was born in Goshen, VA on 26 April 1908. He attended the Virginia Military Institute for one year before entering the Naval Academy in 1926, graduating with the class of 1930. During the 1930s he served in destroyers, attended the USNA Postgraduate School in Annapolis, and later received a Master’s of Marine Engineering degree from MIT in 1940.

Commander George SeayHe served on, and commanded destroyers in the Atlantic and Pacific theatres at Iwo Jima and Okinawa during World War II and won the Silver and Bronze Star medals for meritorious service. He returned to the Naval Academy in 1946-47 in the Electrical Engineering Department. In the next few years, he attended both the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, and Naval War College, Newport, and commanded a destroyer division before duty at the Pentagon in 1950-52. In 1952-53 he commanded an attack transport before returning to the Pentagon for a second tour of duty. His last command was USS Columbus (CA-74) in 1956-57, followed by staff duty in Norfolk and a final year at the Pentagon before his retirement in 1959.

After retirement, he returned to his birthplace, Goshen, and lectured for fourteen years in the mechanical engineering department of VMI. At VMI he quickly gained the reputation of being a stern taskmaster and was quoted in one VMI publication as having the “hobby” of “Devising methods of ‘forcing’ the Keydets to study statics, dynamics, and thermodynamics, and attempting to keep them from circumventing my efforts.” Despite this putative “difficulty” getting his students to study, he loved teaching and was never more proud than when young men would return, sometimes several years after graduating, and thank him for having demanded of them conformance with the highest standards of their professions. In the same VMI publication he was also quoted, “(There is) no more pleasant duty than teaching for a retired military officer.” While at VMI he also served as mayor of Goshen, was president of the Rockbridge County School Board, and a member of the Goshen Lions Club.

He moved to Sarasota in 1978 where, until his health failed in his last year, he enjoyed a second retirement and served his condominium in various offices, including president.

In addition to the commendations noted above, he was awarded the Navy Unit Citation, two Commendation Ribbons, and seven area campaign ribbons for wartime service.

He was a member of the US Naval Institute, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), an honorary member of Kappa Alpha Order, the Sarasota Navy League, the Military Order of World Wars, and was treasurer of the Goshen Presbyterian Church for 15 years.

RAdm. Seay USN (Ret.) died in Sarasota, Florida on 27 September, 1992, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.