George Henry Gilmore, Sr. – Major, United States Army

George Henry Gilmore Sr., 77, a retired Army major who was a special agent and chief of the Army’s counterespionage team during the 1961 Berlin Crisis, died of cancer December 12, 2005, at his home in Oakton, Virginia.

Major Gilmore was born in New Orleans and joined the Army immediately after graduating from high school in 1946. From 1946 to 1951, he was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, where he collected evidence for the Nuremberg war crimes trials and screened potential candidates in displaced persons’ camps to see whether they were eligible for emigration.

George H. Gilmore Sr., 77, served during the 1961 Berlin Crisis (Family Photo)

From 1953 to 1957, he was a special agent based in Munich, where his duties included collecting intelligence on the 1956 Hungarian uprising. Based in Berlin from 1958 to 1965, he led a team that captured Soviet and East German agents and, as his son recalled, “tried to turn them” — seeking to persuade them to work as double agents. He was managing double-agent operations when the Soviets and the East Germans erected the Berlin Wall.

He left Germany in 1965 and was assigned to the Pentagon in the Office of Personnel Operations, where he stayed until 1968. He also received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland in 1965.

He was commanding officer of the 191st Military Intelligence Detachment, 1st Air Cavalry Division, in Vietnam in 1968-69 before returning to the Pentagon in 1969. He retired as assistant chief of staff for intelligence in 1972.

From 1972 to 1999, he worked as a security consultant for private industry, the Defense Department and other clients.

Among his Army awards and citations were the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster and the Meritorious Service Medal.

George Gilmore Jr., noting that his mother also worked in the Counter Intelligence Corps in Germany, recalled that the family needed bodyguards during the Cold War years. Years later, long after the Berlin Wall had fallen, he took his parents on a tour of their German duty stations. In Berlin, they stayed in the landmark Hotel Adlon, which had been in the Soviet sector, on the other side of the wall, during the Gilmores’ spy adventures.

“My father found it surreal,” said Gilmore of Chicago.

Besides his son, survivors include his wife of 57 years, Elizabeth Ann Gilmore of Oakton; two other children, Chris Gilmore of Toronto and Caroline Gilmore of Durham, North Carolina; a brother; a sister; and three grandchildren.

Major Gilmore will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on 1 February 2006.

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