CALNAN, George C., LT

 Service Photo   Service Details
48 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1933-1933, USS Akron (ZRS-4)
Service Years
1920 - 1933

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

89 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember CALNAN, George C., LT.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
South Boston, Massachusetts
Last Address
Died April 4, 1933 in the crash
of the USS Akron ZR-3 Barnegat,
New Jersey, United States

Date of Passing
Apr 04, 1933
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
In the Line of Duty
  1933, In the Line of Duty [Verified]

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Lieutenant George Charles CALNAN, USN

US Fencing Hall of Fame
Naval Academy Fencing Captain 1919
Killed in the air crash of the USS Akron

Lt. George C. Calnan, (USN) (1900-1933) - AFLA national foil champion six times in seven years (1925, '26, '27, '28, '30, '31), medalist twice; national epee champion (1923); national three-weapon champion (1927). Member of all four national championship teams for the New York Fencers Club: foil, epee, sabre, three-weapon (1926). Member, US. Olympic team (1920, '24, '28, '32) and captain (1932). Olympic bronze medalist in epee individual (1928); member, Olympic bronze medal-winning foil team (1932) and Olympic bronze medal-winning epee team (1932). At the 1932 Olympics, he repeated the Oath of Participation on behalf of all participating athletes. Vice-president of the AFLA (1931-33). Captain of Naval Academy (1919). The national three-weapon team trophy was presented in his memory (1934-64).

George Charles Calnan (January 18, 1900 ?? April 4, 1933) was a United States Navy officer who also competed for the United States as a fencer. Competing in four Summer Olympics, he earned three bronze medals (Indivudual épée: 1928, Team foil: 1932, Team épée: 1932).

A model for behavior, Lieutenant George C. Calnan. 

Lt. Calnan learned to fence at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and became team captain in 1919.  A brilliant fencer, he went to the Olympic Games in 1928 and during the individual epee competition he acknowledged a hit that the judges did not see.  This act of sportsmanship cost him the match and the gold medal.  He finished with a bronze, but ito many, that bronze medal was worth more truly won than the gold would have been under false pretenses.  The International Olympic Committee must have thought so, too, because they invited him to recite the Olympians' Oath at the 1932 Games on behalf of all the athletes, an obviously extraordinary honor.

George Calnan died in 1933 in the loss of the U.S. Navy airship Akron, remaining at his station and trying to maintain the ship's trim and ballast when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off New Jersey. 

His was one of only ten Olympic medals ever won by an American in individual men's fencing. 

The Olympic Oath 1932

The voice of the announcer sounds again. It is introducing Lieutenant George C. Calnan, of the United States Olympic Team, who will take the Olympic Oath.

A tall figure, erect and military, ascends the rostrum on the field as a hush spreads over the audience. He grasps the American flag with his left hand and raises his right to the sky.

All over the field the athletes raise their right hands. Then, in a loud clear voice, come Lieutenant Calnan's words :

"We swear that we will take part in the Olympic Games in loyal competition, respecting the regulations which govern them and desirous of participating in them in the true spirit of sportsmanship for the honor of our country and for the glory of sport."

A native of South Boston, Massachusetts, Calnan did not start fencing until he was a student at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. By the time he was a senior, he was captain of the Navy's fencing team. Two years later, Calnan competed for the US at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris where he finished tied for fifth in the team épée competition. Calnan took the Olympic Oath at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Calnan was among the 73 fatalities of the USS Akron crash in 1933. He had a lieutenant's rank at the time of the crash.

He was posthumously inducted in the US Fencing Hall of Fame in 1963, among the first inductees.
Other Comments:

Only one of the officers of the Akron survived, Lt. Cdr. Herbert V. Wiley, Executive Officer.
Rear Admiral William A. Moffett was also on board and killed.

Cdr. Frank C. McCord, Commanding
Lt. Cdr. Herbert V. Wiley, Executive Officer
Lt. Cdr. Harold E. MacLellan
Lt. George Calnan
Lt. Herbert M. Wescoat
Lt. Richard F. Cross, Jr.
Lt. (jg) Hammond J. Dugan
Lt. (jg) Charles F. Miller
Lt. (jg) Morgan Redfield
Lt. (jg) Wilfred Bushnell
Lt. (jg) Cyrus Clendening
Chief Machinist George C. Walsh

 Photo Album   (More...

  1920-1922, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)


From Month/Year
- / 1920

To Month/Year
- / 1922

US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff) Unit Page


Not Specified

Not Specified

Not Specified
 US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff) Details

US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)

Garrison - Base Station


Parent Unit
Naval Shore Units

Not Specified

Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Apr 5, 2011
Memories For This Unit

Chain of Command
Ensign George Calnan took over the training of the fencing teem after he graduated the academy.

My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
63 Members Also There at Same Time
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)

RICHARDSON, James, ADM, (1902-1942) Commander
ROCKWELL, Francis, VADM, (1908-1948) Commander
Blandy, William Henry Purnel, ADM, (1913-1950) Lieutenant Commander
Kidd, Isaac Campbell, RADM, (1906-1941) Lieutenant Commander
McCormick, Lynde Dupuy, ADM, (1915-1956) Lieutenant Commander
Rosendahl, Charles Emery, VADM, (1914-1946) Lieutenant Commander
Tisdale, Mahlon, VADM, (1912-1947) Lieutenant Commander
Van Valkenburgh, Franklin, CAPT, (1905-1941) Lieutenant Commander
Christie, Ralph Waldo, VADM, (1915-1949) Lieutenant
Denebrink, Francis Compton, VADM, (1917-1956) Lieutenant
Fechteler, William Morrow, ADM, (1916-1956) Lieutenant
Van Valkenburgh, Franklin, CAPT, (1905-1941) Lieutenant
Wooster, Stanton Hall, LT, (1917-1927) Lieutenant
Freeman, James Sheperd, RADM, (1921-1951) Ensign
HUGHES, James, CDR, (1915-1945) Ensign
Lent, Willis (Pilly), RADM, (1925-1955) Ensign
Abercrombie, Laurence, RADM, (1920-1948) Midshipman
Arnold, Murr Edward, RADM, (1923-1962) Midshipman
Black, Hugh, LCDR, (1926-1942) Midshipman
Felt, Harry Donald, ADM, (1923-1964) Midshipman
GARCIA, Edmund, RADM, (1927-1955) Midshipman
GLOVER, Cato, ADM, (1916-1957) Midshipman
Grenfell, Elton Watters, VADM, (1926-1964) Midshipman
Hutchins, Carlton Barmore, LT, (1926-1938) Midshipman
Jackson, Alexander, RADM, (1925-1958) Midshipman
Jackson, Charles S., CAPT, (1926-1956) Midshipman
Klakring, Thomas, RADM Midshipman
MALANAPHY, Michael, RADM, (1918-1958) Midshipman
Moosbrugger, Fredrick, VADM, (1923-1956) Midshipman
Mumma, Morton, RADM, (1925-1953) Midshipman
PERRY, John Richard, RADM, (1918-1955) Midshipman
PETERSEN, Wallis, RADM, (1920-1963) Midshipman
Simpson, Rodger, RDML, (1917-1951) Midshipman
SMITH, Donald, CAPT, (1921-1951) Midshipman
Smith-Hutton, Henri, CAPT, (1922-1952) Midshipman
SNARE, Elmer, LCDR, (1921-1945) Midshipman
Soucek, Apollo, VADM, (1921-1955) Midshipman
Soucek, Zeus, LTJG, (1923-1929) Midshipman
Stout, Herald, RADM, (1926-1956) Midshipman
STROOP, Paul David, VADM, (1926-1965) Midshipman
Wilson, Henry, ADM, (1881-1925) OFF 9421 Rear Admiral Upper Half
Carpenter, Dudley Newcomb, CAPT, (1896-1933) OFF 210X Captain
Cluverius, Wat Tyler, RADM, (1896-1945) OFF Captain
Evans, Sydney Key, CAPT, (1907-1935) OFF 410X Captain
Evans, Sydney Key, CAPT, (1907-1935) OFF 410X Captain
Halligan, John, RADM, (1894-1934) OFF Captain
Patrick, Bower Reynolds, CAPT, (1902-1944) OFF 410X Captain
Friedell, Wilhelm Lee, RADM, (1905-1946) OFF Commander
Jacobs, Randall, VADM, (1907-1946) OFF Commander
HENRY, Walter, LCDR, (1909-1930) OFF 111X Lieutenant Commander
Hewitt, Henry Kent, ADM, (1906-1949) OFF Lieutenant Commander
Small, Ernest Gregor, RADM, (1912-1944) OFF 111X Lieutenant Commander
Withers, Thomas, RADM, (1906-1946) OFF Lieutenant Commander
Zacharias, Ellis Mark, RADM, (1912-1946) OFF Lieutenant Commander
Hall, John Lesslie, ADM, (1913-1953) OFF Lieutenant
HOEFFEL, Kenneth, RADM, (1917-1947) OFF 111X Lieutenant
Moran, Edward J., RADM, (1917-1947) OFF 00X Lieutenant
Ray, Herbert James, RADM, (1914-1949) OFF 112X Lieutenant

Copyright Inc 2003-2011