Difference between revisions of "GILBERT J. KIRK, JR., LCDR, USN"

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|picture=1949 Kirk LB.jpg
|picture=1949 Kirk LB.jpg
|LBName=Gilbert J. Kirk, Jr.
|LBName=Gilbert J. Kirk, Jr.
|LBHometown=DALTON, MASSACHUSETTS
|LBHometown=Dalton, Massachusetts
|LBText=Dalton, Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshire hills, claims Gil Kirk as one of the home town boys who made good. After attending Dalton High for two years, where he played football, he transferred to Wilbraham Academy, where he played tackle on the football team and worked at the field events on the track squad. Gil enlisted in the Navy during his senior year there, and eventually wound up at Dartmouth in the V-5. We received him here via NAPS to go into the brigade late in the summer of 1945 with the tailormades barely off his back. Gil's main claim to fame lay in his membership on the 1946 championship interbattalion pushball team, his football career having been held down because of injury. He was best known for his ability to tease, living up to his Irish ancestry.}}
|LBText=Dalton, Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshire hills, claims Gil Kirk as one of the home town boys who made good. After attending Dalton High for two years, where he played football, he transferred to Wilbraham Academy, where he played tackle on the football team and worked at the field events on the track squad. Gil enlisted in the Navy during his senior year there, and eventually wound up at Dartmouth in the V-5. We received him here via NAPS to go into the brigade late in the summer of 1945 with the tailormades barely off his back. Gil's main claim to fame lay in his membership on the 1946 championship interbattalion pushball team, his football career having been held down because of injury. He was best known for his ability to tease, living up to his Irish ancestry.}}


== Life & Loss ==
== Biography & Loss ==
Unable to find any information about Gil's life or loss. [http://www.usna-class49.org/History.html Class of 1949 History] gives only "A/C BNR S. China Sea". Suspect he was flying [http://www.hullnumber.com/VF-213 F3H-2 BuNo 143426], which was written off on October 12, 1961. That aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron (VF) 213, which was on a deployment to the western Pacific in late 1961.  
[[File:1949 Kirk 1.jpg|right|thumb|350px|none|Gilbert, center, with his commanding officer, Captain Nicholas Smith (left) and an unknown shipmate. Photo from USS Ticonderoga (CV 14)'s 1961-62 cruise book, courtesy Gilbert Kirk, III.]]
From an email on May 28, 2018 from one of Gilbert's sons, Gilbert John Kirk, III:
<blockquote>
Gilbert John Kirk, Jr. was born in Pittsfield on April 19, 1926. He was the only son of Gilbert John Kirk, Sr. (of Dalton) and Ellen Monica Barry (of Hinsdale). His two sisters (Eleanor Kirk Melanson and Margaret Kirk Harrison, both now deceased) were also born in Pittsfield.
 
Gilbert was ambitious, restless and willing to work hard for the achievements he made in his short life. Raised on Ashuelot Street in Dalton, he went to local schools (a jump over his backyard fence put him on the grounds of Crane Elementary) through junior high and was accepted to Wilbraham Academy for his high school years. Upon graduation (in 1944), Gilbert had a strong desire to serve his country during World War II, yet he knew he must go to college to realize his potential. He was accepted into Dartmouth College’s V-12 program on July 1, 1944 having entered the service through the Boston Navy Recruiting Station in February of that year. Dartmouth was one of many Navy training schools (others included Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and Cornell) during the war.
 
Gilbert’s goal was to enter the Naval Academy (with an eye on the sky) and after some preparatory work (completed at Bainbridge, MD), he was accepted on September 7, 1945 – five days after the end of the war.
 
He graduated from the Academy on June 3, 1949, was commissioned an Ensign and ordered aboard USS Cabot (CVL-48), an aircraft carrier.
 
In the spring of that year, he met Marjory Reeves Colt at a ‘hangout’ known as The Bomb Shelter. They were married on June 11, 1949 at her father’s house on 444 Main Street in Dalton (currently occupied by the Kittredge family).
 
He was ordered later in the summer of ’49 to Aviation Training School in Pensacola. He earned his wings and was qualified to fly fixed-wing aircraft (helicopters were still new) in May 1950 while stationed in Corpus Christie, TX.
 
Gilbert received numerous other training assignments over the years. He was originally trained in props (such as the SNB, SNJ and the Corsair) but transitioned to jets. Because of the great amount of training he received and his inexperience and junior officer status, especially in jets, he missed action in the Korean War. His career eventually led to prestigious duty as a test pilot in Patuxent River, Md. Some of the ships he served aboard were: USS Tarawa (CV-40), USS Leyte (CV-32), USS Wright (CVL-49), USS Midway (CVA-41), USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), USS Kearsarge (CVA-33), and finally, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). Planes flown: SNB, SNJ, F4U, F6F, F2H, F9F, TV-2 and the F3H. During his career, he was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the European Theater Medal, the Victory Medal (World War II) and the Navy Occupation Medal (Europe).
 
After completing Naval Postgraduate School (Special Weapons) in Monterey in August 1959 he was assigned to VF-53 (motto: Sans Reproach – the squadron is still active today at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, VA) in San Diego. He was promoted to the position of Executive Officer and sailed aboard the Ticonderoga in March 1961 for a WestPac deployment of nine months duration. On October 12, 1961, while making a night landing, Lieutenant Commander Kirk‘s F3H jet (known as the Demon) collided with the ‘ramp’ on the back of the ship, slid across and off the port side of the flight deck turning sideways as it plunged wing-tip first into the South China Sea. His body was not recovered.
 
He left behind four children (Cynthia, 9; Gilbert, 8; Lewis, 6 and David, 1), his wife Marjory; mother Ellen Barry Kirk and two sisters Eleanor and Margaret, (also a Navy veteran of World War II).
 
He has a marker placed in Arlington National Cemetery, as well being listed on a monument on the grounds of the Naval Academy to alumni whose bodies were never recovered.
 
<cite>Biography by Gilbert John Kirk III, U.S. Navy veteran, written on January 28, 2009.</cite>
</blockquote>


Gil has [https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Kirk&GSiman=1&GScty=404785&GRid=22549283& a memory marker] in Arlington National Cemetery.
Gil has [https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Kirk&GSiman=1&GScty=404785&GRid=22549283& a memory marker] in Arlington National Cemetery.


== Other ==
== Other ==
He [http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/Aircraft_by_Type/f3h_demon.htm survived an ejection] from his F-3 Demon on July 22, 1960, parachuting into water before being rescued by a helicopter.
He survived an ejection from his F-3 Demon on July 22, 1960, parachuting into water before being rescued by a helicopter.
 
== Family ==
His wife, Marjory, [https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/55118837/ remarried in 1965;] the announcement said she had four children. One of those, his son Phillip, was [http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-04-02/features/8903310510_1_new-orleans-symphony-music-director-employee engaged to be married] in 1989.


{{ClassNavigator|Name=Gilbert|HonoreesInClass=40|ClassYear=1949|PreviousPersonLink=[[JOHN C. MCCOY, LT, USN|John McCoy '49]]|NextPersonLink=[[DEAN T. OUSTERHOUT, LCDR, USN|Dean Ousterhout '49]]}}
{{NewClassNavigator|Name=Gilbert|HonoreesInClass=40|ClassYear=1949|PreviousPersonLink=JOHN C. MCCOY, LT, USN|PreviousPersonName=John McCoy '49|NextPersonLink=DEAN T. OUSTERHOUT, LCDR, USN|NextPersonName=Dean Ousterhout '49}}
{{NewClassNavigator|Name=Gilbert|HonoreesInClass=40|ClassYear=1949|PreviousPersonLink=JOHN C. MCCOY, LT, USN|PreviousPersonName=John McCoy '49|NextPersonLink=DEAN T. OUSTERHOUT, LCDR, USN|NextPersonName=Dean Ousterhout '49}}


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[[Category:Operational loss|Kirk]]
[[Category:Operational loss|Kirk]]
[[Category:Fixed Wing|Kirk]]
[[Category:Fixed Wing|Kirk]]
[[Category:Fighter Squadron (VF) 213|Kirk]]
[[Category:Fighter Squadron (VF) 53|Kirk]]

Latest revision as of 15:28, 5 February 2021

Gilbert Kirk, Jr. '49

Date of birth: April 19, 1926

Date of death: October 12, 1961

Age: 35

Lucky Bag

From the 1949 Lucky Bag:

1949 Kirk LB.jpg

Gilbert J. Kirk, Jr.

Dalton, Massachusetts

Dalton, Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshire hills, claims Gil Kirk as one of the home town boys who made good. After attending Dalton High for two years, where he played football, he transferred to Wilbraham Academy, where he played tackle on the football team and worked at the field events on the track squad. Gil enlisted in the Navy during his senior year there, and eventually wound up at Dartmouth in the V-5. We received him here via NAPS to go into the brigade late in the summer of 1945 with the tailormades barely off his back. Gil's main claim to fame lay in his membership on the 1946 championship interbattalion pushball team, his football career having been held down because of injury. He was best known for his ability to tease, living up to his Irish ancestry.

1949 Kirk LB.jpg

Gilbert J. Kirk, Jr.

Dalton, Massachusetts

Dalton, Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshire hills, claims Gil Kirk as one of the home town boys who made good. After attending Dalton High for two years, where he played football, he transferred to Wilbraham Academy, where he played tackle on the football team and worked at the field events on the track squad. Gil enlisted in the Navy during his senior year there, and eventually wound up at Dartmouth in the V-5. We received him here via NAPS to go into the brigade late in the summer of 1945 with the tailormades barely off his back. Gil's main claim to fame lay in his membership on the 1946 championship interbattalion pushball team, his football career having been held down because of injury. He was best known for his ability to tease, living up to his Irish ancestry.

Biography & Loss

Gilbert, center, with his commanding officer, Captain Nicholas Smith (left) and an unknown shipmate. Photo from USS Ticonderoga (CV 14)'s 1961-62 cruise book, courtesy Gilbert Kirk, III.

From an email on May 28, 2018 from one of Gilbert's sons, Gilbert John Kirk, III:

Gilbert John Kirk, Jr. was born in Pittsfield on April 19, 1926. He was the only son of Gilbert John Kirk, Sr. (of Dalton) and Ellen Monica Barry (of Hinsdale). His two sisters (Eleanor Kirk Melanson and Margaret Kirk Harrison, both now deceased) were also born in Pittsfield.

Gilbert was ambitious, restless and willing to work hard for the achievements he made in his short life. Raised on Ashuelot Street in Dalton, he went to local schools (a jump over his backyard fence put him on the grounds of Crane Elementary) through junior high and was accepted to Wilbraham Academy for his high school years. Upon graduation (in 1944), Gilbert had a strong desire to serve his country during World War II, yet he knew he must go to college to realize his potential. He was accepted into Dartmouth College’s V-12 program on July 1, 1944 having entered the service through the Boston Navy Recruiting Station in February of that year. Dartmouth was one of many Navy training schools (others included Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and Cornell) during the war.

Gilbert’s goal was to enter the Naval Academy (with an eye on the sky) and after some preparatory work (completed at Bainbridge, MD), he was accepted on September 7, 1945 – five days after the end of the war.

He graduated from the Academy on June 3, 1949, was commissioned an Ensign and ordered aboard USS Cabot (CVL-48), an aircraft carrier.

In the spring of that year, he met Marjory Reeves Colt at a ‘hangout’ known as The Bomb Shelter. They were married on June 11, 1949 at her father’s house on 444 Main Street in Dalton (currently occupied by the Kittredge family).

He was ordered later in the summer of ’49 to Aviation Training School in Pensacola. He earned his wings and was qualified to fly fixed-wing aircraft (helicopters were still new) in May 1950 while stationed in Corpus Christie, TX.

Gilbert received numerous other training assignments over the years. He was originally trained in props (such as the SNB, SNJ and the Corsair) but transitioned to jets. Because of the great amount of training he received and his inexperience and junior officer status, especially in jets, he missed action in the Korean War. His career eventually led to prestigious duty as a test pilot in Patuxent River, Md. Some of the ships he served aboard were: USS Tarawa (CV-40), USS Leyte (CV-32), USS Wright (CVL-49), USS Midway (CVA-41), USS Coral Sea (CVA-43), USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), USS Kearsarge (CVA-33), and finally, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). Planes flown: SNB, SNJ, F4U, F6F, F2H, F9F, TV-2 and the F3H. During his career, he was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the European Theater Medal, the Victory Medal (World War II) and the Navy Occupation Medal (Europe).

After completing Naval Postgraduate School (Special Weapons) in Monterey in August 1959 he was assigned to VF-53 (motto: Sans Reproach – the squadron is still active today at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, VA) in San Diego. He was promoted to the position of Executive Officer and sailed aboard the Ticonderoga in March 1961 for a WestPac deployment of nine months duration. On October 12, 1961, while making a night landing, Lieutenant Commander Kirk‘s F3H jet (known as the Demon) collided with the ‘ramp’ on the back of the ship, slid across and off the port side of the flight deck turning sideways as it plunged wing-tip first into the South China Sea. His body was not recovered.

He left behind four children (Cynthia, 9; Gilbert, 8; Lewis, 6 and David, 1), his wife Marjory; mother Ellen Barry Kirk and two sisters Eleanor and Margaret, (also a Navy veteran of World War II).

He has a marker placed in Arlington National Cemetery, as well being listed on a monument on the grounds of the Naval Academy to alumni whose bodies were never recovered.

Biography by Gilbert John Kirk III, U.S. Navy veteran, written on January 28, 2009.

Gil has a memory marker in Arlington National Cemetery.

Other

He survived an ejection from his F-3 Demon on July 22, 1960, parachuting into water before being rescued by a helicopter.


Class of 1949

Gilbert is one of 40 members of the Class of 1949 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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