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George Has Spirit to Be a Sailor

--The aircraft carrier Forrestal’s complement of sailors and officers has grown by one--a ghost nicknamed George--according to stories circulated aboard ship. George became something of a national celebrity in July, when the ship’s public affairs officer, Lt. James Brooks, issued a news release about him and a photograph of a disembodied pair of khaki slacks entering a hatch while the Forrestal was patrolling the North Arabian Sea. Brooks says the publicity has brought some interesting responses, including several cans of mint-scented “Boogerchaser” from a Spartanburg, S.C., man who guaranteed the product would chase George and any other ghosts off the ship. A widow from Atmore, Ala., wrote that George might be “Hank,” the nickname for her husband, a Navy pilot who was buried at sea off the Forrestal in April. George allegedly is responsible for mysterious noises and voices, objects falling for no reason and sightings of an unknown man in khaki uniform. Some speculate that George, named after the ship’s former food officer, is one of the 134 crew members killed in a flight deck fire in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam in 1967. George reportedly confines his activities to the cargo holds. Petty Officer 2nd Class Gary Weiss said he has twice seen a khaki-uniformed man passing through the holds, only to have him disappear from areas that have no exits.

--Hank Williams Jr. took top honors at the Country Music Assn.'s 22nd annual award ceremonies, winning the Entertainer of the Year award. “Two in a row--whew!” Williams exclaimed as he claimed the honor for the second consecutive year. He also captured Album of the Year with his “Born to Boogie” LP. Dolly Parton, herself a former Entertainer of the Year, was host of the two-hour awards program, which was televised live by CBS from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. Other winners for the evening included Ricky Van Shelton, who collected the prestigious Horizon Award, and Randy Travis, who won Male Vocalist of the Year. Relative newcomer K.T. Oslin, who led all artists with five nominations, was named Female Vocalist of the Year. Highway 101 and lead singer Paulette Carlson were the surprise winners of the Vocal Group of the Year. Another unexpected winner was Kathy Mattea, who captured Single of the Year for her “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses.” The mother-and-daughter team of Wynonna and Naomi Judd was named Vocal Duo of the Year. The awards show, attended by top industry executives, kicks off Nashville’s Country Music Week.


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