George Washington Steele, Jr., was born on 19 June 1879, in Marion, Indiana. He was the son of George Washington Steele, Sr., a former United States Representative and Territorial Governor of Oklahoma. Steele attended Shattuck School in Fairbault, Minnesota and public schools in Marion. Following this education he received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland (George W. Steele, Jr.). While in the Academy he was elected adjutant of the Naval Academy twice, "an honor probably never before given to another cadet in the history of the school" (Record). He graduated from the Academy on 8 June 1900 (George W. Steele, Jr.).