Gerard Philip Zornow was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 25 January 1921, son of Mr. and Mrs. P. H. (Marie Crean) Zornow of Queens Village, Long Island, New York. After graduating from Erasmus Hall High School in 1939, he attended Springfield (Massachusetts) College, and graduated with the Bachelor of Science degree in March, 1943. While at college he played soccer and lacrosse, and was reporter and copy editor of the Springfield Republican, as well as Assistant Publicity Director, Springfield College, and Engineer and Announcer for radio station WMAS in 1943. In February 1942 he enrolled in the US Naval Reserve, V-7 program, and was called to active duty in September 1943. Commissioned Ensign in December 1943, he was advanced to Lieutenant, junior grade as of 1 April 1945, transferred to the US Navy in August 1946, and was promoted to Lieutenant as of 1 January 1949.
Upon reporting for active duty in September 1943, he was ordered to the Midshipmen’s School in Chicago, Illinois, and the next January reported to the Amphibious Training Base, San Diego, California. After six weeks he was detached, and ordered to the Advance Command, FIFTH Amphibious Force, Pearl Harbor, T. H., where he was assigned to USS Leedstown (APA-56) at Guadalcanal, and thereafter participated in the resupply of the Marshalls and New Britain, and as a small boat officer, participated in the assault on Guam, Marianas Islands.
In July, 1944, he transferred to duty as Communication Officer on the staff of Commander Amphibious Group FOUR, Pacific Fleet (Rear Admiral L. F. Reifsnider), based variously in USS Clymer, USS Kwajalein at Coronado, California, in Eldorado, and Panamint. During that period he participated in operations for the capture of Okinawa and IeShima. In May 1945 he transferred to the staff of Commander LST Group 16, for duty as Material and Engineering Officer in the final phases of the war, and thereafter participated in the occupation of Tokyo Bay area, and was detached on 1 October 1945.
Ordered back to the United States, he reported to Commandant, First Naval District, at Boston, Massachusetts, and the following January, he became Gunnery Officer of LST-533. Three months later he was transferred to the Navy Exhibit Ship, LST-512, as Executive Officer, and when detached in October 1946, he was assigned for a two year tour in the Public Information Office, Navy Department, for duty as Exhibits and Special Promotions Officer. He reported in November 1948 to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, for duty as Public Information Officer, transferring in May 1950 to the Pacific Fleet, for duty as Public Information Officer on the staff of Commander, Amphibious Force. In November 1951 he returned to the United States, reporting in the Ninth Naval District to serve as Officer in Charge, Service School Command, Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois.
Lieutenant Zornow has the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four bronze engagement stars; World War II Victory Medal; and Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp.