Rear Adm. Michael Gallighan O'Connor, 70, a combat pilot in World War II and a former commander of the Naval Air Transport Wing for the Atlantic who later worked on the Apollo space program and as a college instructor, died of a heart attack Friday at Anne Arundel General Hospital in Annapolis.
Adm. O'Connor, who was born in New Orleans, was a 1931 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He had lived in Annapolis since 1967.
He served aboard the battleship New York beforer starting his flying career in World War II as a combat pilot in the Pacific theater. Later in the war he served as air operations officer on the staff of the 7th Fleet and as commanding officer of the seaplane tender San Carlos. He was awarded the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion of Merit with combat "V".
After the war, Adm. O'connor held staff and command positions, ending his 32-year naval career as commander of the Naval Air Transport Wing for the Atlantic, now the Military Airlift Command. He retired in 1959.
He then became a project manager for the RCA Corp., working on the lunar module portion of the Apollo space program.
In 1967, he became administrator of the College of General Studies at George Washington University, from which he earned a doctorate in business administration. For several years he taught management science courses for the Army Department and several local colleges.
Adm. O'Connor was the author of numerous articles on management techniques in the armed forces.
Survivors include his wife, Jane D., and a son, Kip, both of Annapolis; another son, Michael, of Philadelphia; a daughter, Lucile Hood of Woodbridge; a brother, Hugh, of Baton Rouge, La.; two sisters, Alva Clark and Theresa Mary Higgins, both of New Orleans, and seven grandchildren.