Saturday, September 24, 2022

Avenue of Heroes: George R. Worthington

Written by the late Rear Adm. George R. Worthington

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1937, Rear Adm. George Rhodes Worthington grew up in Tucson, Arizona, attended South Kent School in Connecticut, and spent one year at Brown University before matriculating to the U.S. Naval Academy. A member of 2nd Company, he graduated and was commissioned an ensign in 1961. His first tour was aboard USS Halsey Powell (DD-686), which participated in the 1962 Christmas Island bomb tests.

Following a two-year assignment as Flag aide with Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla 7, Worthington volunteered for Underwater Demolition Team training in Coronado. He graduated with Class 36 and deployed in support of 7th Fleet operations. Rising through the ranks, he would command SEAL Team 1, Inshore Undersea Warfare Group 1, Naval Special Warfare Group 1, and Naval Special Warfare Command. He also completed staff tours with Naval Special Warfare Group in Vietnam, as naval attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia, on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations, and the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations). A graduate of both the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff and National War Colleges, he retired from active duty in 1992.

Worthington was a member of the San Diego Military Advisory Council  and served on several boards, including Zodiac North America, L3- Communications/Wescam-Sonoma, and the Special Warrior Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing college scholarships for children of deceased members of Special Operations Forces. He worked on littoral warfare requirements and initiated the Navy’s Sea Fighter project.

Worthington penned chapters about the SEAL teams for two anthologies, “The Navy” and “United States Special Operations Forces” and co-authored the book “Naval Special Warfare.” His memoir, “Runnin’ with Frogs,” was published  in 2018. Along with being a U.S. Parachute Association “D” License sport  parachutist with 1,622 skydives, he was an avid skier and U.S. Masters  Swimming All-American.

Worthington died from complications of  Parkinson’s  at  home  on  Dec.  18,  2021. He is survived by his wife Veronica; children Rhodes, Graham, and Greer; five grandchildren Madeline, Mackenzie, George, Penelope and Rhys; brother, William; and former wife, Sydna Alexander Worthington, mother of his children.

The Hometown Banner program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 206 hometown heroes. On May 21, another 11 will be honored. The City funds all the costs for the program. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. The inspiration for the program came spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly in Coronado. The local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and men and women with ties to the community have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Hometown Banner program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.



Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]