George Dooley was born on December 25, 1918, in Hopland, California. After receiving his bachelor's degree from St. Mary's College, California, he entered elimination flight training with the U.S. Marine Corps on July 14, 1939, and went on active duty as a Naval Aviation Cadet on October 7, 1939. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps on June 7, 1940, and was designated a Naval Aviator at NAS Miami, Florida, on September 11, 1941. His first assignment was as an SB2U Vindicator and SBD Dauntless pilot with VMSB-131 at Quantico, San Diego, and Hawaii from September 1941 to September 1942, and then as a TBF Avenger pilot and Operations Officer with VMTB-131 on Hawaii and Guadalcanal from September to November 1942. Maj Dooley then served as Commanding Officer of VMTB-131 on Guadalcanal, Espiritu Santo, MCAS El Toro, California, and on Guam from November 1942 to October 1944, followed by service as an F4U Corsair pilot and Commanding Officer of VMF-216 and VMF-217 on Guam and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-18) from November 1944 to April 1945. His next assignment was as Commanding Officer of VMT-2 at MCAS El Toro from July 1945 to June 1947, and he then attended Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from August 1947 to May 1948. Col Dooley served as Assistant G-3 for Air Operations with Fleet Marine Force Atlantic at Norfolk, Virginia, from May 1948 to October 1949, followed by service as a Plans Officer with the Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic from October 1949 to September 1950. His next assignment was as Operations Officer, Executive Officer, and then Commanding Officer of VC-6 at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, Port Lyautey, French Morocco, at San Diego, and at NAS Atsugi, Japan, from October 1950 to December 1953. Col Dooley attended the Senior School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, from December 1953 to June 1954, and then served as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, from June 1954 to March 1956. His next assignment was as Operations Officer and Executive Officer of MAG-11 at NAS Atsugi from March 1956 to April 1957, followed by service as Personnel Director for Marine Corps Aviation with Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps at the Pentagon from April 1957 to June 1960. He attended National War College from June 1960 to June 1961, and then served as Commanding Officer of MAG-13 at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, from June 1961 to June 1963. His next assignment was as Chief of Staff, G-1 on the staff of Fleet Marine Force Atlantic at Norfolk from June 1963 to June 1966, followed by service as Director of Programs with Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps at the Pentagon from June 1966 to November 1968. Gen Dooley then served as Chief of Staff of the III Marine Amphibious Force at MCAS DaNang, South Vietnam, from December 1968 to December 1969. His final assignment was as Commanding General of Landing Force Training Command Pacific at NAB Coronado, California, from January 1970 until his retirement from the Marine Corps on July 1, 1970.
His Navy Distinguished Service Medal Citation reads:
For exceptionally meritorious service to the Government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility as Chief of Staff of the III Marine Amphibious Force in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 1 January to 15 December 1969. The impact of Brigadier General Dooley's perceptive mind an broad ability was obvious as he coordinated the vast and diverse activities of the largest operational command ever assembled under one Marine Corps commander. His duties encompassed the management of three separate command structures and required that he organize and direct planning for both join and combined operations. He molded the staff sections into a closely knit, harmonious instrument of control over 230,000 men of Free World forces. His organizational skill and professional competence in the execution of these duties were reflected clearly, not only in the outstanding successes of the command during his tenure, but equally in the progressively increasing ability of the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam to assume a more confident and active combat posture. Throughout his tour of duty, Brigadier General Dooley's exacting attention to detail, superior management competence, and incisive foresight ensured the highest possible degree of performance in the development of plans, policy, and programs. His unique ability to absorb facts rapidly and to recognize strengths and weaknesses of proposed courses of action were principally responsible for the efficiency and dispatch with which staff actions were completed. By his military acumen, vast professional ability, and unflagging devotion to duties of great responsibility, Brigadier General Dooley rendered exceptionally meritorious service to his country and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.