George William McGovern, Jr.
- Died 17 October 1982 in Burke, Virginia,
- aged 48 years.
- Interment: Arlington National Cemetery
GEORGE W. MCGOVERN, JR., the son of George and Hazel McGovern, was born 5 October 1934 in Cranston, Rhode Island. After attending the University of Rhode Island for one year, he entered West Point in July 1953. As a cadet, he early demonstrated those qualities which were his trademark-concern for his friends, a devotion to duty, and a lively sense of humor. An indication of the esteem we felt for him was demonstrated with our first opportunity as plebes to decide anything of consequence-we elected him as our company honor representative. As was proven throughout his career, our honor system could not have been in better hands.
George came to West Point professing a desire to be a “flyboy,” but he finally saw the light, and upon graduation in 1957 he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry.
After a mandatory sojourn at Fort Benning, George joined the 38th Infantry in Germany. While in Schweinfurt he met and married Christina Andersdotter. In 1962, the McGovern family returned to Fort Benning for the Advanced Course. From Benning, it was off to the 5th Special Forces at Fort Bragg, with side trips to Vietnam, where George distinguished himself as “A” Team Commander in a critical location in the Delta. He was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star for Valor. In 1966, George was assigned to Fort Gordon and during his spare time in the next two years, he earned a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Georgia Then it was back to Vietnam, this time with the 101st Airborne Division. He returned to the States in 1969 to attend Command and General Staff School, followed by the Austrian Staff College in 1971, and a two-year tour in Vienna.
George returned to Fort Bragg and Special Forces in 1973, this time as a Battalion commander in the 5th Special Forces Group. In 1975, the McGovern family moved to the Washington area, where George served on the Department of Army Staff and attended the Industrial College of the Armed Force, (ICAF). After graduation from ICAF, George was promoted to colonel and returned once again to Fort Bragg, this time to command the 5th Special Forces Group. All good things come to an end, and 1980 saw George once again in Washington, first in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (ODCSOPS ), and then in his final assignment as an executive officer in International Security Affairs, Office of Secretary of Defense (ISA, OSD). During this period, he was able to indulge in his two favorite pastimes-travel and running. I think his personal highlight was qualifying for and running in the Boston Marathon.
His classmates knew him as a friend who cared. Those who served with George knew him as a good soldier who exemplified the motto of our Alma Mater-Duty-Honor-Country. George was proud of the Army and his beloved Special Forces. He inspired others with his sense of professionalism. In fact, I know of a young cadet, now a second lieutenant, whose goal is to “go Special Forces” because there were people like Colonel George McGovern in it.
George died in his sleep on 17 October 1982, just two weeks after attending our 25th Reunion. He is survived by his wife. Christina; his children, Mike, Cathy, and Christy; and his mother, Hazel McGovern. His family lost a husband and father, the Army lost a good soldier, and I lost my friend.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard