The man believed to have given Huntsville its nickname, “The Rocket City,” answered his last roll call on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. He was 91 years old. He was an author, educator, businessman and Marine. His award winning book, The Right Kind of War, was a thinly veiled account of his wartime experiences as a member of the Marine Corps’ elite 4th Marine Raider Battalion and later the 4th Marines. He was wounded four times. He participated in deadly jungle fighting during the Solomon Islands Campaign, amphibious landings at Bairoko Harbor, Enogai Inlet, Vangunu, Emirau. Further, he was in the first wave during the invasion and liberation of Guam and later the invasion and capture of Okinawa. Also, he was among the first allied troops to land in Japan, securing Japanese military gun emplacements ringing Tokyo Bay. This important task was completed prior to the official surrender ceremonies.
When he returned from overseas, he took advantage of the GI Bill to earn a B.A., M.A., and PhD degrees in English and taught at the University of Alabama until he founded the Communications Skills Company in 1959, a firm that conducts seminars on improving individual writing and speaking skills. The business is in its 53rd year of operation.
He was preceded in death by his much beloved spouse, Mary Jane McCormick, whom everyone affectionately called “Honey.”
Survivors include his son, Michael J. McCormick; daughter, Elizabeth A. McCormick; grandchildren, Judson Bailey III, Aidan Bailey Seiler, and Patrick J. McCormick; and great-grandchildren, John Bailey, Mary Bailey, Rowan Seiler and Sloan Seiler.
He was an extraordinary man from an extraordinary generation, during an extraordinary time in our country’s history. He will be missed.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Laughlin Service Funeral Home. A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church. Burial will be in Maple Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wounded Warriors or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.