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Highlighting the World Wars I & II Memorabilia Collection of Dave Sleeper

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Kirby, George W. Jr.


Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Military Branch: UDT 21, US Navy
Origin: New Jersey
Date of Death: 2010-6-8
Charity Cemetery, Virginia Beach, VA
Featured: No

George Wilcox Kirby Jr. was born in Camden, New Jersey October 7, 1923 and died in Virginia Beach, Virginia June 8, 2010. He was a member of Seal Class 11. He was a veteran of WW2, Korea and Vietnam. He started as an enlisted man in the Navy in 1942 and retired as LCDR in 1972.

The following is taken from the November 3, 1965 pamphlet for the change of Command Ceremony for UDT-21 at Little Creek, VA. that accompanies this group:

"Lieutenant George W. Kirby, Jr. was born 7 September, 1923, in Camden, N.J., where he graduated from the Woodrow Wilson High School.

"As a civilian, he worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a brakeman. He enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor, and upon completion of Recruit Training at Bainbridge, MD, served in the USS Thurston (APA-77) in the Eurpean Theatre until April 1944 when he volunteered for duty with the Navy Demolition Teams at Ft. Pierce. Florida, and was assigned to the Pacific Theatre. After leaving the Combat Demolition Teams he served consecutive tours of duty in USS Dionedes (ARB-11) and USS Chesterfield County (LST-551). In 1952 he again volunteered for duty with the Underwater Demolition Teams (the old Combat Demolition Teams) and served with UDT-21 until June 1958 when he was selected and commissioned Ensign (LDO) from Chief Engineman. After completion of LDO Indoctrination Course at Newport, RI, he reprted to USS Grant County (LST 1174) as Engineering Officer. Upon completion of this duty in October 1960 he was again assigned to Underwater Demolition Teams for duty, serving in UDT-22. In June 1963 he was ordered to UDT-21 as Executive Officer, serving in that capacity until Aptil 1964 when he assumed command of UDT-21.

"Lieutenat Kirby's campaign and service medals include the American Defense, Asiatic-Pacific, European-African-Middle Eastern Area (2 stars), World War II Victory, Navy Occupation with Asia Clasp, China Service, National Defense, Good Conduct, and the Navy & Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia.

"Lieutenant Kirby is married to the former Miss Mary L. Doyle of Camden, New Jersey, and they have three children: Mrs. Joan K. Beaver, Jerome F. Kirby, and Jae Michael Kirby." The individual relieving Lt Kirby was Lt. Joseph E. Heinlien, Jr. His entire career is spelled out in the pamplhet as well. A list of officers and Chiefs in UDT-21 is also printed in the pamphlet.

LCDR Kirby's group includes all of the medals (some with boxes) and badges listed above plus his Naval Reserve medal. Other items include his Underwater Demolition patch, a formal picture of him when he was enlisted, a formal picture of him as Lieutenant Commander, five 8x10 UDT training photos, the Change of Command pamplhet mentioned above, his plaque with full relief UDT 21 insignia and a brass plate that states "US NAVY, GEORGE W. KIRBY JR, UDT 21, FROGMAN FOREVER", a Vietnam era green beret with Special Ops flash and sterling basic parachutist badge, and a drawing dated 1958 of a UDT 21 patch insignia that was designed and drawn by  Bill "Fat Rat" Sutherland who was UDT 21/SEAL 2 resident artist. His work was sought throughout the East Coast Teams also appearing in many cruise books that had UDT Dets with the ships. Also included are an H. Boker Mk1 fighting knive marked USN with sheath also marked USN, and a USN marked Mk2 Cammilus knife. The gold Parachutist insignia is hallmarked with M-22-N, 1960 (made by NS Meyer), and a clover leaf with "44" inside the clover.

This comes from paratrooper.net describing quaifications to earn the gold parachutist wings:

"1. Must be in a jump billet.
2. Must be on jump status for over 90 days.
3. Must complete 5 jumps after jump school while meeting the above requirements.
4. One jump must be a water jump.
5. Must endure "The Ceremony" - This was NOT an official requirement, but we all know what it's all about. If you don't know, you don't need to know."