When the time came for a second tour in 1970, the couple had a child. He decided to pursue civilian aviation instead of risking his life again.
After teaching flight school at two colleges in upstate New York and flying with the Virginia State Police, George joined the Federal Aviation Administration in 1986 as an inspector. He worked his way up the ladder to supervisor and, eventually, manager of the FAA's Washington Flight Standards District Office at Dulles Airport.
On Sept. 11, 2001, George was leading a staff meeting when he was interrupted by a phone call from an inspector. He told his assistant he would call the man back later. The inspector called again.
A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.
His team crowded around the radio and listened as a plane smashed into the South Tower. He thought a war had begun. It was another type of warfare he wasn't prepared for. He wondered what would happen next.
At 9:43 a.m., the Pentagon was hit.
By 10 a.m., George had a team on their way to the scene to begin the investigation. They were the first ones from the FAA there.
For 18 days straight, the team rotated shifts as they sifted through debris. The 53 employees under George's leadership were in charge of recovering and identifying all parts of the Boeing 757 wreckage.
"They did a great job. They all worked so hard," he said.
In 2004, George retired from the FAA but his love for aviation persists.
Now 69, he flies recreationally. He has no list of places he wants to see or milestones he'd like to hit. He just likes being airborne.
"I'll fly as long as they let me."
The awards will be presented at a celebration at the Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida, on March 29, during the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In.
By Christy Barritt Correspondent The day Edwin Capone starts having a job is the day he said he will stop working. That's why the 75-year-old is still employed as an aviation mechanic...