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George Henry Mills
Commodore, United States Navy
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GH Mills PHOTO
Photo Courtesy of the United States Navy

George Henry Mills (1895-1975), Naval officer and airship aviator, was a member of the U.S. Navy's inner circle of advocates of lighter than air (LTA) flight. 

Mills was born on August 5, 1895 in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, the son of John Craton Mills and Nora Poole Mills. He attended Bingham Military School in  Asheville, North Carolina, and entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1914. Mills graduated from the Academy in June, 1918 and served in various fleet and shore assignments. He married Leonore Wickersham of Corning, NY in 1923; their daughter, Georgia Lee Mills, was born in 1928.

Mills was assigned to LTA (lighter than air) training at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1931. He completed his training in 1932 and served in the Navy's LTA fleet through the 1930's. Mills flew as an observer on board the Graf Zeppelin in 1934 and on the Hindenburg in 1936. In 1935, Mills survived the crash of the USS Macon off the California coast. Mills returned to Lakehurst, serving there in various assignments; he was made commanding officer of Naval Air Station Lakehurst in January, 1940.

At Lakehurst, Mills organized blimp patrols as part of the Navy's Neutrality Patrol and helped coordinate the Navy's rapid buildup of the LTA program. When Airship Patrol Group One was formed in January 1942, Mills was named commanding  officer; in December 1942 he commanded Airship Wing Thirty. In July 1943, Mills was assigned as the commander of Fleet Airships, Atlantic -- the chief of the Navy's LTA forces in the Atlantic Theater. George Mills was promoted to the rank of Commodore in November 1943.

In 1945, Mills returned to sea as the captain of the troopship USS Hermitage. Before retirement from the Navy in 1949, Mills served as the chief of the Naval Airship Training and Experimentation Command (CNATE) at NAS Lakehurst.

After leaving the Navy, Mills settled in North Carolina and worked for the Equitable Life Insurance Company, and later for the National Securities and Research Corporation. Mills served one term in the North Carolina State Legislature from 1950 to 1952. 

George H. Mills died on October 24, 1975, the same day as his longtime LTA colleague and friend, Garland Fulton, whose papers are also part of the collections of the National Air and Space Archives. They were buried on the same day in  Arlington National Cemetery.



Courtesy of  the National Air and Space Archives

George Henry Mills (1895-1975), Naval officer and airship aviator, was a member of the U.S. Navy's inner circle of advocates of lighter than air (LTA)  flight. Mills was born on August 5, 1895 in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, the  son of John Craton Mills and Nora Poole Mills. He attended Bingham Military  School in Asheville, North Carolina, and entered the U.S. Naval Academy in  1914. Mills graduated from the Academy in June, 1918 and served in various  fleet and shore assignments.  He married Leonore Wickersham of  Corning, NY in 1923; their daughter, Georgia Lee Mills, was born in 1928. Mills was assigned to LTA training at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey  in 1931. He completed his training in 1932 and served in the Navy's LTA fleet  through the 1930's. Mills flew as an observer on board the Graf Zeppelin in  1934 and on the Hindenburg in 1936. In 1935, Mills survived the crash of the  USS Macon off the California coast. Mills returned to Lakehurst, serving there  in various assignments; he was made commanding officer of NAS Lakehurst in  January, 1940.

 At Lakehurst, Mills organized blimp patrols as part of the Navy's Neutrality Patrol and helped coordinate the Navy's rapid buildup of the LTA program. When Airship Patrol Group One was formed in January 1942, Mills was named commanding officer; in December 1942 he commanded Airship Wing Thirty. In July 1943, Mills was assigned as the commander of Fleet Airships, Atlantic -- the chief of the Navy's LTA forces in the Atlantic Theater. George Mills was promoted to the rank of Commodore in November 1943.

 In 1945, Mills returned to sea as the captain of the troopship USS Hermitage. Before retirement from the Navy in 1949, Mills served as the chief of the Naval  Airship Training and Experimentation Command (CNATE) at NAS Lakehurst.

 After leaving the Navy, Mills settled in North Carolina and worked for the Equitable Life Insurance Company, and later for the National Securities and  Research Corporation. Mills served one term in the North Carolina State  Legislature from 1950 to 1952. George H. Mills died on October 24, 1975,  the same day as his longtime LTA colleague and friend, Garland Fulton, whose  papers are also part of the collections of the National Air and Space Archives.  They were buried on the same day in Arlington National Cemetery.

 Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 3 September 2001  Updated: 14 September 2005 Updated: 16 October 2007
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GH Mills Gravesite PHOTO October 2007
Photo By: M. R. Patterson, October 2007