Lt. Dan McGourty, son of Ron and Celene Gay of Wallowa, has been awarded the President George Herbert Walker Bush Award, given to first-tour, carrier-based pilots who best exemplify the skill, commitment, loyalty and courage of America’s 41st President.
The elder Bush was commissioned and winged just days before his 19th birthday and was the youngest Naval Aviator on record. He later was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for combat action.
McGourty received the award during the 2017 Tailhook Reunion in Reno, Nev.
McGourty is a 2001 Wallowa High School graduate. He joined the Navy in 2003 after fulfilling basic education requirements at Eastern Oregon University. He enlisted in the Navy to see the world, but the Navy soon saw something in him and began to invest heavily in his career.
He began his career as an Aviation Electrician and Air Crewman Rescue Swimmer and was soon serving as crew chief on a medevac helicopter in Kuwait. He received an Army Commendation Medal for his work in Kuwait, where he served November 2005 to May 2006.
He also met his wife Alexandra Ulrich while serving in Kuwait. The couple now have three children: daughters Randi and Molli and 5-month-old son, Gage.
By 2007 McGourty was enrolled in the Seaman-to-Admiral 21 program on his way to a commission.
The Navy then sent McGourty for more training and he earned a Mechanical Engineering Degree in 2011, after which he was commissioned as ensign prior to beginning flight training. He was designated a Naval Aviator in 2013 and went on to fly E-2C Hawkeye jets with the “Golden Hawks” Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 112. He was deployed in the Western Pacific in 2016 aboard the USS John. C. Stennis.
McCourty has been engaged in a more personal battle recently –– fighting cancer –– while serving as administrative officer for Naval Test Wing Pacific at Point Mugu, Calif.