George Louis Cassell was born in Dallas, Texas, on June 3, 1918, son of Percy and Grace (Rianhard) Cassell. He attended Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University at College Station and received a baccalaureate degree as a Bachelor of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University at Dallas. He enlisted in July 1941 in the US Naval Reserve. Appointed an Aviation Cadet the next month, he had flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and on March 14, 1942, was commissioned Ensign, USNR and designated Naval Aviator. Transferring from the Naval Reserve to the Regular Navy on May 12, 1945, he advanced progressively in rank, attaining that of Rear Admiral, to date from July 1, 1969.
He was first assigned to the Naval Air Station, Dallas, Texas, where he served as a Primary Instructor until December 1943. He had fighter and night fighter operational training at the Naval Air Station, Vero Beach, Florida, until May 1944, then was ordered to Charleston, Rhode Island, to assist with forming of Night Fighting Squadron One Hundred Five, one of the first night-fighter carrier based squadrons. In September 1944, upon the decommissioning of that squadron, he transferred to Fighter Squadron Three, which operated off the USS Yorktown. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross which states in part: “For heroism and extraordinary achievement… in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Philippine Islands, Formosa, China Coast, Nansei Shoto and Tokyo from November 13, 1944 to February 20, 1945…”
He is entitled to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the USS Yorktown.
From October 1946 until January 1948 he was Assistant Operations Officer at the Naval Air Station, San Juan, Puerto Rico and following instruction at the General Line School, Monterey, California, reported in January 1949 as Operations Officer at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Cabaniss Field, Corpus Christi, Texas. In August 1950 he reported as Navigator of the USS Bairoko (CVE-115) and while on board that escort aircraft carrier participated in operations in the Korean area of hostilities. In April 1952 he became Maintenance Officer of Air Development Squadron Five at Moffett Field, California, and in June 1953 was detached for duty in the Fleet Operations Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC.
He was a student at the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia, from August 1955 until January 1956, then was ordered to the West Coast, where he put into commission and commanded Attack Squadron One Hundred Twenty Six, an F7U Squadron, based at the Naval Air Station, Miramar, California. In July 1957 he joined the Staff of Commander Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet, to serve as Operations and Training Officer. He reported in August 1959 as Operations Officer on board the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) and in May 1961 was detached for duty as Assistant for Anti-Air Warfare Analysis in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air), Navy Department.
In December 1963 he assumed command of the USS Nitro (AE-23), deploying with the US Sixth Fleet, and in January 1965 transferred to command of the USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), which participated in the first retaliatory strikes against North Vietnam in February 1965.
While Commanding Officer, Coral Sea, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”, the National Order of Vietnam, Fifth Class, and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm. He is entitled to a ribbon for, and a facsimile of, the Navy Unit Commendation awarded the Coral Sea for participated in the Southeast Asia area of hostilities during the period February 7 to October 18, 1965.
In February 1966 he joined the Staff of the Commander in Chief, US Pacific Fleet, where he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations for Admiral J.J. Hyland, USN. He was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Legion of Merit “for meritorious service from February 1966 to July 1968…” In November 1968 he reported as Deputy Commander Naval Striking and Support Forces, Southern Europe and was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the Third Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious service…” in that assignment. In October 1971 he reported as Commander Antisubmarine Warfare Group Two and in February 1972 was designated Commander Antisubmarine Warfare Group Four, his former assignment becoming additional duty. Upon the disestablishment of Antisubmarine Warfare Group Two on April 1, 1972 he was relieved of command. “For exceptionally meritorious conduct… was Commander Antisubmarine Warfare Groups Two and Four …” he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the Fourth Legion of Merit.
He reported in November 1972 as Commander Fleet Air, Quonset, headquartered at the Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, Rhode Island and assumed further duty in May 1973 as Deputy Commander Naval Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet for Sea Base Air Antisubmarine Warfare and Commander Sea Control Group One, having been assigned additional duty in February of that year as Commander Antisubmarine Warfare Group Four. Upon the disestablishment of Fleet Air, Quonset on July 1, that year, his additional duty became his primary assignment.
In addition to the already mentioned awards, Rear Admiral Cassell is entitled to the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three operation stars; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with device; Philippine Liberation Ribbon with star and the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Badge. He also has the National Order of Vietnam, Fifth Class and Gallantry Cross with Palm by the Republic of Vietnam.