Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

Home     Honorees  

Photo Not Available

Notable Classmates

CDR George Cornelius USN (ret.)

From 1980 to 1985, Mr. Cornelius was the U.S. Representative to the NATO Identification System Special Project Office in Brussels, promoting and protecting U.S. interests in the multi-national effort to develop a new electronic IFF system for distinguishing friends from foes. There he won three consecutive Department of Defense Outstanding/Superior Performance Awards.

Mr. Cornelius acquired diplomas as an interpreter and translator of Russian, and in French as an honor graduate of the prestigious Alliance Francaise in Paris. After 23 years as a naval officer, he spent four years as Paris Representative of Autonetics Division, North American Aviation, and four more representing TRW Systems in Paris and Brussels, marketing advanced avionics and electronics systems and exploring commerical opportunities with European governments and companies. He went on to establish his own European Consulting Services specializing in advanced technology international transfer on the "Two-Way Street." During 25 years in Europe, he lived, worked and traveled in two dozen countries around the world.

But the adventure began in Toms River, New Jersey. Mr. Cornelius recalls that he was one of the first pupils to attend the Toms River Grammar School which contained eight grades. The high school was composed of 400 pupils. Mr. Cornelius was active in numerous high school activities but the instrumental music knowledge impacted to him by Miss Jean Stockwell during three years of orchestra and band where he played first trumpet enabled him to win a music scholarship to Admiral Farragut Academy where for two years he prepared for competitive entrance exams for the service academies. In 1939 he graduated from Farragut with an appointment to Annapolis.

Mr. Cornelius began his career as a naval officer upon graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1942 in the class of 1943, the course condensed from four years to three because of World War II. His career included service in destroyers on convoy duty during which time he crossed the Atlantic six times (Battle of the Atlantic 1942-43), and in submarines (Atlantic and Pacific 1944-45). In 1947 Mr. Cornelius became a Naval Aviator flying in both single-engine, carrier-based (1948-49) and multi-engine jet photo reconnaisance squadrons (1953-55).

In fifteen years of flying, Mr. Cornelius qualified to pilot 28 aircraft types. Among his prized military decorations is one for "hazardous missions over hostile territory".

After retiring from the Navy in 1962, he represented aerospace companies in Paris until 1972 and in 1974 began restoring an ancient wooden 40 foot motor vessel in which he descended the ,canals and rivers of France from Paris to the Mediterranean where he cruised for six years.

In 1980 he was appointed u.s. Representative to NISSPO (Nato Identification System Special Project Office) at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Since 1985 he has been Principal Associate (San Diego) of Spectrum International Associates of Tucson, Arizona, a firm specializing in managerial and other types of assistance to small business enterprises.

"Whatever measure of success in life I have had I owe to Toms River High, my trumpet, and all those before and since surrounding those generative nucleii ..... My career (careers) began in the Toms River High Band (22 members strong). When Toms River South proudly marched in the Rose Bowl Parade in 1987, there were 250 musicians in its, ranks. We have, and they will have, much to remember, and many of the best memories will be of the school in which we spent formative years. We have grown, and it has grown, in wonderous ways".

Copyright 2010 Toms River Regional Schools. All rights reserved.