George “Tom” Tompkins was born on 24 May 1926. He joined the Navy in 1944 afraid he was going to miss the war. He was a Fire controlman (FC 3/c) assigned to the USS Cassin Young (DD 793) as a director operator on one of the 40mm guns. In April 1944 off Okinawa, his ship was attacked by six kamikaze aircraft. The ship shot down five but his gun was hit by the last one. His gun was credited with downing one aircraft. Later the ship was hit by another and pulled off the line.
After the war he was discharged to the reserve. He went through the NAVCAD program and was commissioned in 1950. He was assigned to VA-55 flying A-1 Skyraiders. He flew 61 combat missions in Korea. In 1952 his plane was hit by ground fire and he had to ditch. He was able to put the plane in the water next to USS Los Angeles (CA 135). He said he barely got his feet wet.
Subsequently he flew AD-5Ws and deployed in USS Midway in 1958 as OIC of VAW-11 Det
A. He subsequently transitioned to the E-2 Hawkeye. He retired from the Navy in 1974.
After retirement he worked various jobs until the Midway came to San Diego. Midway was his first love and he volunteered as a docent at the museum until 2015. He passed away on 6 October 2015
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