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George Stephen Morrison
Admiral George Stephen Morrison.jpg
Born (1919-01-07)January 7, 1919
Died November 17, 2008(2008-11-17) (aged 89)
Place of birth Rome, Georgia
Place of death Coronado, California
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1938–1975
Rank Rear Admiral
Commands held USS Bon Homme Richard

World War II

Korean War
Vietnam War

George Stephen Morrison (January 7, 1919 – November 17, 2008) was a Rear Admiral and naval aviator in the United States Navy. Morrison was commander of the U.S. naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident of August 1964, which set off what is known as the Vietnam War. He was the father of the late Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the rock band The Doors.[1][2][3]

Early life and careerEdit

Morrison was born in Rome, Georgia, the son of Caroline (née Hoover; 1891-1984) and Paul Raymund Morrison (1886-1971), and raised in Leesburg, Florida.[2] Morrison entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1938. He graduated in 1941, was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy, and was sent to Hawaii where he joined the crew of the minelayer Pruitt (DM-22).[4] On December 7, 1941, Morrison witnessed the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor.[3]

In 1943 he began flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida, graduating in spring 1944. Morrison flew missions in the Pacific Theater for the duration of World War II.[4]

He served as an instructor on nuclear-weapons programs following the end of the war, while during the Korean War, he served at the joint operations center in Seoul. This resulted in the award of the Bronze Star.[3]

In 1963, Morrison took command of the Essex-class aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31), flagship of a 3rd Fleet Carrier Division in the Pacific,and based at Naval Air Station, Alameda, California. Morrison was in command of the Carrier Division during the controversial Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, which resulted in a dramatic escalation of the Vietnam War.[5] In 1966 he was promoted to Rear Admiral; at age 46. In WestPac 1968 he was Commander of Task Force 77, the USS Hancock CVA-19 served as his flagship. Besides operations against communist forces in North Vietnam, the task force was diverted to Korea in Dec. of 1968 to support South Korean forces battling North Korean insurgents. Morrison successfully led the Task Force in the interdiction of communist North Korean forces in spite of attempts by Russian Navy destroyers to prevent flight operations by attempting to cross the path of USS Hancock. In 1972, he was appointed Commander Naval Forces Marianas.[6] As such, he was in charge of relief efforts for Vietnamese refugees sent to Guam after the 1975 fall of Saigon.[7]

Admiral Morrison was the keynote speaker at the decommissioning ceremony for Bon Homme Richard, his first ship as an admiral, on July 3, 1971 in Washington D.C., the same day his son, Jim Morrison, died in Paris, France at age 27.

Morrison retired in 1975.[7]


Captain Morrison and his son Jim on the bridge of the Bon Homme Richard in January 1964

Personal lifeEdit

Morrison met and married Clara Virginia Clarke (1919-2005) in Hawaii in 1942. Their son James Douglas was born in 1943 in Melbourne, Florida where they lived at the time.[4] A daughter, Anne Robin, was born in 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and school teacher in Thousand Oaks, California,[8] and a son, Andrew Lee Morrison, was born in 1948 in Los Altos, California lives in Pahoa, Hawaii.[9][10]

In retirement, the Morrisons lived in Coronado and Chula Vista, California. Clara Clarke Morrison, 86, died after a long illness in Coronado on December 29, 2005. Rear Admiral Morrison died in Coronado on November 17, 2008. His private memorial service was held on November 24 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. His ashes were scattered at sea near the same spot off Point Loma where his wife's ashes had been scattered nearly three years earlier.


  1. "Inside the Laurel Canyon : The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation". Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Steve Liewer (November 28, 2008). "George 'Steve' Morrison; rear admiral flew combat missions in lengthy career". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 William Grimes (December 8, 2008). "George S. Morrison, 89; Navy Commander and Father of Rock Singer". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Livepress encyclopedia retrieved April 8, 2008
  5. Possibly Carrier Division Five
  6. "Rear Admiral George S. Morrison, ComNavMarianas. Oct. 1, 1972 (Photographs)". Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Rear-Admiral George Morrison: father of Jim Morrison". The Times. December 11, 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  10. "Jim Morrison". The Biography Channel. Retrieved 6 September 2010. 

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