Death of a Classmate - Lieutenant Colonel George Joseph Ertlmeier, USMC Retired

Lieutenant Colonel George Joseph Ertlmeier, U.S. Marine Corps, retired, 81, died January 1 in Annapolis. He was born August 18, 1930, in New York City, and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1947. While he was serving on the battleship Missouri, his gunnery sergeant, who later became the first Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, suggested he apply for the Naval Academy Preparatory School; he took the gunny's advice and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1954. Commissioned in the Marine Corps, he married the former Peggy Fitzgerald of New York City that June. He served as an infantry officer at Camp Lejeune, NC, and with the Marine Detachment aboard the aircraft carrier Antietam, before entering flight school; he was designated a Naval Aviator at Kingsville, TX in 1958. He began his career as a fighter pilot with Marine Fighter Squadron 232 at Kaneohe Bay, HI, flying the FJ-4 Fury. He transitioned to the F-8E Crusader and deployed to the Western Pacific with Marine All-Weather Fighter Squadron 312 in 1965, where he also served as a Landing Signal Officer with Marine Composite Reconnaissance Squadron 1 aboard various Task Force 77 carriers during the early days of the Vietnam War. He taught leadership at the Naval Academy, transitioned to the A-4E Skyhawk, and in 1969 returned to Vietnam for a combat tour flying from Chu Lai Air Base. He then commanded Marine Attack Squadron 324, the first operational unit to fly the new A-4M, at Beaufort, SC, until he retired in 1974. He became the owner of a technology company in Texas before moving to Annapolis in 2009. He was preceded in death by his son Clay Ertlmeier, who died in January 2007. Surviving are Peggy, his wife of 57 years; a son, Mark Ertlmeier (Terri), of Annapolis; a daughter Susan Turner (James) of Davidsonville; and two grandchildren, Christopher and Lauren Turner of Davidsonville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January 13 in St. Andrew's Chapel at the Naval Academy, where the Ertlmeiers were married in 1954, followed by a committal service at the Naval Academy Columbarium. Arrangements by the George P. Kalas Funeral Home, 2973 Solomon's Island Road, Edgewater, MD. Memorial contributions may be made to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program at toysfortots.org. Online guestbook available at www.kalasfuneralhomes.com

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