Capt. George William “Bill” Gaiennie was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Kenneth and Celia Marie Gaiennie on Oct. 8, 1917, and moved as a child to Shreveport, Louisiana. Gaiennie was the oldest of four and had many fond memories of fishing at Lake Charles on his grandfather’s farm.
In 1942, Gaiennie joined the Navy. He attended Flight School, graduated and was commissioned an Ensign on Aug. 4, 1943. He was sent to the South Pacific as part of a Torpedo Squadron. He participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and was co-credited with the sinking of the Japanese heavy cruiser IJN Atago on Oct. 25, 1944. He stayed in the Navy at the end of World War II.
During his career, he was a Torpedo Pilot; a pilot assigned to VU Squadron 7 at Naval Air Station North Island, 1946-1947; attended Line School, 1950-1951, in Monterey; became a Flight Instructor in Pensacola, 1951-1952, and served in Korea. He also attended War College; commanded the USS Manatee (AO-58), 1963-1964; designed Combat Information Center programming for carriers and served on several staffs aboard ship and at the Pentagon. His final tour of duty was on the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1972 to 1974, during which he was privileged to give a speech at the Hague.
Gaiennie received numerous medals; the most notable were the Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the Joint Commendation Medal.
Gaiennie went on a “Round the World” cruise aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard in 1948. When he returned, he married Carolyn Cady, a Navy widow, in 1949. They kept Carolyn’s house on C Avenue, he a meticulous gardener who kept lists of flowers, watering schedules and fertilizer applications, she with a more slap dash approach to gardening.
Upon his retirement in 1974, they became active in the Bridge & Bay Garden Club and the Coronado Floral Association. Gaiennie passed away on August 6, 1984, and his wife in 2014. They rest together at Fort Rosecrans.
Carolyn and Bill Gaiennie had no children together but he helped raise her daughters Marcia Anne Cady Cobian (CHS ‘56) and Jo Carol Cady Boyd (CHS ‘62).