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George Gay Jr.; Survived Battle of Midway

October 30, 1994

George Gay Jr., 77, who became a national hero as the only aviator of his 30-man squadron to survive the Battle of Midway in World War II. Gay, of Marietta, Ga., earned his place in history by bobbing up and down in the ocean for 30 hours as the battle that became the turning point of the war in the Pacific raged around him on June 4, 1942. Wounded, and wearing a life jacket, Gay said he was "cheering and hollering with every hit." Gay later became a spokesman for Admiral Chester Nimitz in telling the story of the U.S. victory at Midway, even appearing on the cover of Life magazine. Gay had asked that his ashes be scattered over the Midway battle site so that he can rest with his "buddies." On Oct. 21 in Atlanta of a heart attack.

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