[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 126 (Monday, September 12, 1994)]
[Page S]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[Congressional Record: September 12, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


  Mr. SMITH. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to an 
extraordinary individual who has had a remarkable career in service to 
his country--Adm. George E.R. ``Gus'' Kinnear, USN, retired. ``Gus'' as 
his friends call him, has spent almost half a century either serving on 
active duty, or working on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  Born in Mounds, OK, and raised in Brooksville, FL, Gus is now a 
distinguished citizen of the great State of New Hampshire. He entered 
the Navy as an enlisted man in 1945, was selected for pilot training, 
and became a naval aviator in 1948. As with many fine young men of his 
generation, he participated in the Korean conflict, flying combat 
missions from the decks of U.S. aircraft carriers.
  Following the war, Gus successfully completed studies leading to the 
receipt of his bachelor's and master's degrees. But the call of his 
first love, naval aviation, led him back to the air in 1961, and he 
served in various squadron positions until 1963, when he earned his 
first combat command as ``C.O.'' of Attack Squadron 106.
  In 1966, with 3 years of operational command under his belt, Gus once 
again took a brief hiatus to attend Stanford University, where he 
earned a master of science degree in industrial engineering and a 
doctoral degree in engineering management.
  Mr. President, following completion of his doctoral work, Gus again 
assumed command positions involving greater and greater responsibility. 
He was given command of a carrier air wing during the Vietnam war, and 
later, as a flag officer, he commanded a carrier group. Units under his 
command saw action in the Sea of Japan during the Pueblo incident and 
in the Tonkin Gulf. He personally flew over 100 combat missions during 
Vietnam, and to his credit Gus holds the unique distinction among naval 
aviators of flying more different types of jet aircraft than any other 
naval aviator, having logged more than 5,000 flying hours and having 
made more than 950 arrested carrier landings.
  The years 1968 to 1971 were also exciting and challenging ones for 
Gus, but in a different way. As Special Assistant to the Director of 
Navy Program Planning, and then as a Special Assistant to the Navy 
Comptroller, he honed his management skills in the business side of the 
Navy. Again, Gus served with distinction and developed skills that were 
to serve him well throughout his career.
  Upon leaving Washington, Gus assumed command of LSD 32, the U.S.S. 
Spiegel Grove, followed in quick succession by his assignment as 
commander of one of the Navy's premier naval aviation installations, 
Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, CA. His stay at Miramar was, 
however, brief. Following his promotion to rear admiral, it was back to 
Washington. Predictably, Gus was again assigned to billets involving 
ever-increasing responsibility; first as the Assistant Chief of Naval 
Personnel and then as Chief of Legislative Affairs in the Office of the 
Secretary of the Navy. In 1978, he was designated a vice admiral, and 
assigned as the commander for naval air forces, Atlantic fleet. 
Finally, in 1981, Gus was promoted to admiral and assumed the 
prestigious and challenging position of U.S. military representative to 
the NATO military community, a position he held until his retirement.

  Those who know Gus recognize that he is not a person who can sit idle 
for long. Following his retirement he went to work for the Grumman 
Corp., where he advanced to the position of senior vice president for 
Washington operations. He left Grumman in 1988 to serve as executive 
vice president and then president of the University of New Hampshire, a 
position he held until 1992. In October 1992, following 4 years of 
service as a member of the board of directors of the Retired Officers 
Association [TROA], he was unanimously selected as TROA's chairman of 
the board, a position from which he is now retiring.
  Mr. President, through Gus' stewardship, the Retired Officers 
Association continues to play a vital role as a staunch advocate of 
legislative initiatives to maintain readiness and improve the quality 
of life for all members of the military community--active, reserve, and 
retired, plus their families and survivors. I will not describe all of 
his many accomplishments at TROA, but I would like to focus briefly on 
a few that illustrate the breadth of his concern for our Nation's 
military people. As chairman, he led the fight for continued access to 
the military health care system for retirees and directed TROA's 
efforts to maintain the viability of the commissary system. Taken 
together, these comprise two of the most important institutional 
benefits provided as inducements for a career in service.
  Under his direction, TROA spearheaded a bipartisan initiative to 
provide military retirees the same cost-of-living adjustment [COLA] as 
Federal civilian retirees will receive. His zeal in fighting to compel 
Congress and the administration to honor past commitments to our 
service personnel and their families is legendary.
  On a national scope, Gus has been a vocal and effective champion of a 
reasoned, judicious approach to the downsizing of our Armed Forces. As 
Gus has so appropriately emphasized, if implemented haphazardly, the 
drawdown will undermine our national security and produce a ``hollow'' 
military force. No one in this Nation can speak with greater knowledge 
and experience on this issue than Gus Kinnear, and his observations are 
right on the mark.
  Mr. President, my closing observation, which I am sure is shared by 
all my colleagues, is that Admiral Kinnear has been an outstanding 
leader, in the military, TROA, and on behalf of the entire retired 
community. His distinguished military service and his unwavering 
commitment to the cause of freedom throughout the world are an 
inspiration for those who have followed and will continue to follow in 
his footsteps. Our wishes go with him for a long life of health, 
happiness, and continued success. As a former sailor myself, and in 
keeping with the highest traditions of the Navy, I join with his many 
friends in wishing Gus ``fair winds and a following sea.''