Thanks to all of the generous donations of our alumni and supporters, the H. Del Beekley Rowing Foundation was able to work with the team to purchase a 2017 Pockock 8+ from the University of Texas at the end of the 2019 season. The boat was purchased not with a single donation, but through the generosity of over 50 Alumni over the previous two years. As the largest single donor towards the effort, alumnus Ed Baldry (‘86 – ‘88) was given the opportunity to name the boat and chose to dedicate it to lifelong military hero and family friend: CWO4 George Louis Gadsden.
While COVID foiled our original plans for the dedication in 2020, we were blessed with an absolutely beautiful day at the 2021 San Diego Fall Classic to host the dedication and a brunch in his honor. Alumnus Ed Baldry delivered a heartfelt dedication that included the presentation and reading of a plaque that will be hung in the Boathouse and tells the story of CWO4 George Louis Gadsden. The plaque reads as follows:
George Louis began his life’s odyssey in Philadelphia, PA on February 8, 1936, as the youngest child of James Gadsden, Sr., and Isabel Deas. In 1953, at age 17, he persuaded his sister, Marie, to sign his enlistment papers and began his military career by enlisting in the United States Air Force. George moved to Charleston, SC, in 1959 and joined the US Navy.
Other than the love of his family, the Navy was his passion. Due to the Navy’s mandatory retirement policy, he retired after a 30-year career. In 1987, he petitioned the Department of the Navy because he felt he had more to offer. He was recalled to active duty in 1988 to the USS Independence for an additional five years. He began his Navy career at Naval Base Charleston SC, as a Seaman E-3. He advanced quickly in the enlisted ranks, reaching his highest enlisted rank of Chief Petty Officer E-7. George simultaneously applied for the Limited Duty Officer and Chief Warrant Officer Program and within 30 days was selected for Chief Warrant Officer.
George had a long and illustrious military career and in his 35 years of naval services, he had many tours of duty that took him to military bases around the world. While in Vietnam, he earned a Purple Heart and many other medals and commendations. All total, the Bos’n completed 40 years of combined military Service.