From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Patrick Kilcline '75

Date of birth: April 21, 1953

Date of death: July 16, 1978

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1975 Lucky Bag:


From The Washington Post:

Navy Pilot Patrick J. Kilcline, Killed in Crash Off San Diego
July 20, 1978

Navy Lt.j.g. Patrick Joseph Kilcline, 25, a graduate of Langley High School in McLean, was lost at sea Sunday about 98 miles south of San Diego, Calif., the Navy Department said.

A member of Fighter Squadron 211, he was flying his F-14 fighter during flight operations from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Constellation when he went down.

Lt. Kilcline was the son of Rear Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline and Dornell Kilcline, of Washington. His father is chief of legislation affairs with the Department of the Navy.

Born in San Francisco, Lt. Kilcline attended schools in Sanford, Fla., Nice, France, Coronado, Calif., and Virginia Beach, before moving here. He was a letterman in basketball and football during his senior year at Langley.

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1975 and received his wings two years later at Kingsville, Tex.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his wife, Georgene Gibbs Kilcline, of the home in San Diego; a brother, Navy Lt. Thomas Kilcline, stationed at Miramar, Calif., and two sisters, Kathleen Kilcline, of Indianapolis, Ind., and Mary Evelyn Kilcline, of Washington.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions in his name to the Naval Academy Alumni Association.

He has a marker in Arlington National Cemetery.


From an email on October 7, 2017 from VADM Thomas Kilcline, USN (ret.) '73:

My brother Pat was an exceptional man – he was two years behind me at USNA. He was my only brother and one of four children to a Navy pilot, VADM Tom Kilcline, Sr, and Navy Chief’s daughter, who was also a YN3 following WWII. We were all destined to be associated with the Navy – Pat and I flew Navy fighters, our sister Kathy was a newly commissioned Navy doctor when she died in a car crash two years later and our youngest sister Mary married an aviator and future Navy Captain from the class of 1978.

Pat did well in High School and at USNA in academics and sports. He was a standout HS football and basketball player, played rugby at USNA and selected for the All Navy rugby team after graduation. He had good grades at USNA (Sups list) and was well liked by his classmates. Good looking and polished, he escorted then President Gerald Ford’s daughter to a formal dance in DC and married a Navy Nurse, Georgene, four months before his mishap.

Pat was a good pilot and selected for fighters at the top of his flight class in 1977. Following initial F-14 training, he reported to VF-211 at NAS Miramar. The day he was killed, he was flying off the coast of California from the USS Constellation. He was on his final mission of the at sea period which was also the last at sea exercise before deployment. His mission, beside returning to NAS Miramar, was fleet air defense. Pat and his Radar Intercept Officer, Bill Mathews (USNA 1968), launched and were given a vector for a high speed, high altitude target. In the final hard turn on the target the F-14 departed controlled flight while transonic, lost an engine and quickly went into the first documented F-14 flat spin from which Pat could not recover. Pat and Bill were unable to eject and the F-14 remains in several hundred feet of water off the coast of San Clemente Island.

Those who knew Pat miss him deeply.


A brass plaque in Dahlgren Hall, US Naval Academy, reads:

In Memoriam

LCDR William C. Matthews, USN, '68
LTJG Patrick Kilcline, USN, '75
Lost at Sea July 16, 1978
VF-211, USS Constellation

"There are all sorts of motivations which drive our complex society. One of the indispensable ones is that which seeks to preserve that society, its values, people, and institutions from the depredations of those who would undermine, conquer, or destroy them. The fulfillment of that essential task includes the need for men who are willing to take upon themselves personal hardship, danger, separation from their loved ones, and a myriad of other disciplines associated with their uniquely important craft. There is not and never will be in our free society a substitute for such men or the job which they must do. Someone must always have the watch, someone must always be the sentinel, and someone must climb into a cockpit and launch into the morning sky."

Senator S. I. Hayakawa
Congressional Record
July 19, 1978

Related Articles

William Matthews '68 was the radar intercept officer aboard the F-14A and was also lost in the crash.

Class of 1975

Patrick is one of 8 members of the Class of 1975 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.