Gearing was named for three generations of naval men.

Henry Chalfant Gearing, born on 9 June 1855 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was graduated from the Naval Academy in 1876. Gearing served on various ships of the Navy during his early years, including Lackawanna, Tuscarora and Essex. He spent tours of duty at the Naval Academy and on board Glacier. After being promoted commander in 1905, Gearing commanded the naval stations at Cavite and Olongapo (Subic Bay), Philippine Islands, until his retirement in 1909. He died on 16 August 1926 at Charlottesville, Virginia.

Henry Chalfant Gearing, Jr., was born on 22 January 1887 at Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1907. He served on California, Illinois and other ships besides commanding a long list of destroyers, among them Woolsey, Dobbin and Maury. He was appointed captain in 1934. Subsequently, he commanded Destroyer Squadron 4 and Naval Training Station, San Diego, before his death on 24 February 1944 at San Diego Naval Hospital.

Henry Chalfant Gearing, III, was born on 16 August 1912 at Vallejo, California and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1935. After serving several ships as a young officer, he joined Juneau as a lieutenant in 1942, and was lost with his ship when it was torpedoed and sunk in the Solomon Islands following the Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 November 1942.