Harry R. Gault
Harry was born on December 15, 1934 in Kittanning, PA, the
eldest child of Harry Graham Gault and Alice Blanche Corbett. On the day he was born, the Alleghany River
had flooded over, forcing the doctor who delivered him into the world to arrive
by boat to the front door of his parents’ apartment.
Harry attended Clarion State Teachers College before joining
the United States Navy. In 1955, began
flight school training in Pensacola, FL.
Then, in 1957, he was commissioned an Ensign and designated a Naval
Aviator. From 1957-1959, Harry was
stationed in Long Beach, CA as a member of Flight Squadron VS-73. During this tour, Harry flew the Grumman S2F
and conducted more than 100 carrier landings on the USS Yorktown (CVS-10), making him a Centurion on the ship. More importantly, while stationed here, Harry
met his future wife, Peggy, and the two were married on September 19,
Next, Harry was assigned to the airborne early warning
squadron VAW-11, stationed at NAS North Island, CA. While there, he flew the S2F, AW-11, TF-1Q,
AD-5Q, and WF-2 on and off the desks of 4 different aircraft carriers. During a visit to the base by President
Eisenhower, Harry introduced the WF-2, also referred to as the “Willy Fudd”, saying,
“Mr. President, you have just seen the Navy’s fastest airplane, and this is the
Navy’s newest and slowest.” With this,
the usually stoic Eisenhower burst into laughter.
In September 1959, Harry was deployed to the Mediterranean
Sea as a part of Task Group Alpha Specials ASW with VS-26. Then, from
1968-1970, he was deployed to Vietnam with VS-33. After Vietnam, Harry was assigned to the
Washington Navy Yard, DC, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Naval Air Facility
Andrews AFB, MD. While stationed at the
Naval Air Facility, he was responsible for transporting the kidney transplant
team, patients, and official dignitaries.
He retired a LCDR in July 1977 with over 1700 carrier landings and over
5800 logged flight hours.
After his Naval service, Harry embarked on a successful 22
year real estate career. A long time
resident of Springfield, VA, he was an active member of Grace Presbyterian
Church and volunteered much of his time to community and outreach
projects. In 2010, Harry and Peggy moved
to The Fairfax.
Harry is survived by his beloved wife Peggy, daughters Terri
(Dave Henson) and Tammi (Louis Violetta), son Tom (Cindy Gault), 8
grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, and sister, Carolyn Moore. He was preceded in death by his grandson,