George J. Marrett

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George J. Marrett
George-Marrett-F104-EAFB-1964.jpg
George J. Marrett by F-104
(USAF Photo)
Born1935 (age 78–79)
Grand Island, Nebraska
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchSeal of the US Air Force.svg United States Air Force
Years of service1957 - 1969
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit84th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
602d Fighter Squadron (C)
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal
Other workAuthor, Trustee
 
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George J. Marrett
George-Marrett-F104-EAFB-1964.jpg
George J. Marrett by F-104
(USAF Photo)
Born1935 (age 78–79)
Grand Island, Nebraska
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchSeal of the US Air Force.svg United States Air Force
Years of service1957 - 1969
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit84th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
602d Fighter Squadron (C)
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal
Other workAuthor, Trustee

George J. Marrett (born 1935) is a former United States Air Force officer, combat veteran, and test pilot. He is the author of many aviation-related books and articles.

Early life[edit]

George Marrett was born in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1935 and graduated in 1957 from Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa with a bachelor's degree in Chemistry.[1] He entered the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant from the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Marrett received pilot training at Webb Air Force Base in Texas where he flew the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star.[2] After graduation in 1959, he went to advanced flight training at Moody AFB in Georgia where he flew the North American F-86L Sabre. Marrett spent four years in the 84th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Hamilton Air Force Base, California, flying the McDonnell F-101B Voodoo.[3]

Test pilot and combat veteran[edit]

Marrett was selected to attend the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS), now called the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California.[4] While at the school, Marrett flew a variety of aircraft including the Northrop T-38 Talon, Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and General Dynamics F-106 Delta Dart. After graduating with Class 64A,[5] he was assigned to the Fighter Test Branch of Flight Test Operations at Edwards and completed three years flight-testing the McDonnell F-4C Phantom, Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter, and General Dynamics F-111A Aardvark.[1] Marrett flew during the heyday of flight test when many aviation record were set, such as Colonel Robert 'Silver Fox' Stephens' world speed record in the YF-12.[6]

From 1968 to 1969, Marrett flew the Douglas A-1 Skyraider as a “Sandy” rescue pilot in the 602d Fighter Squadron (C), C for Commando, from Udorn and Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Bases, Thailand.[7]

He completed 188 combat missions with over 600 combat hours and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters. He was also awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for flight test at Edwards AFB.[8]

In 1969, Marrett returned from Vietnam and joined Hughes Aircraft Company as an experimental test pilot.[9] For the next twenty years, he flew test programs which helped develop attack radar and missile in the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Hornet, and an early version of the B-2 Stealth bomber. Marrett has flown over 40 types of military aircraft and logged over 9,500 hours.[3]

Sock It To 'Em[edit]

Model of Douglas A-1J "Sock It To 'Em"

Marrett's personal aircraft while serving with the 602d was an A-1J Skyraider, serial number 142029, maintained by crew chief Joseph Toback.[10] The aircraft was named Sock It To 'Em after the popular 1960s comedy television program, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.[11] Three weeks after Marrett and Tobak returned home, Sock It To 'Em was shot down by ground fire killing the pilot, Major James East, Jr.[12] Forty-one years later, Marrett and Tobak were reunited at the Estrella Warbird Museum where they flew in Marrett's 1945 Stinson L-5 Sentinel that is also named Sock It To 'Em.[11] The A-1 Skyraider, Sock It To 'Em, was memorialized as a plastic model by the Tamiya Corporation and a die-cast metal model by Hobby Master Limited.[11]

Later years[edit]

Marrett retired from Hughes Aircraft in 1989 and lives in Atascadero, California. He is one of the founders of the Estrella Warbird Museum at the Paso Robles airport, where he enjoys flying his privately owned plane, a 1945 Stinson L-5E Sentinel and 1946 Aeronca L-16 Champ. He is the chief pilot for D. P. Industries flying their Beechcraft King Air C-90 and has been on the Board of Trustees of the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, California since 1983.[1]

Marrett has been married to his Nebraskan wife, Jan, for 55 years. They have one son who is a Professor of Geology at the University of Texas at Austin and another son who is a marketing director in the automotive field in southern California. They have four grandchildren Tyler Marrett, Zachary Marrett, Cali Marrett, and Casey Marrett.

Publications[edit]

Marrett started his career as an aviation author by sending short stories to magazines.[13] He has had nineteen articles published in aviation magazines about military flight test and his experiences in Vietnam.[13] The following is an incomplete list of his works:

Books[edit]

Articles[edit]

Honors[edit]

Marrett was inducted in the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame on January 26, 2006 in Kearney, Nebraska.[14] He was elected to the Grand Island, Nebraska High School Wall of Honor and inducted in October 2007.[15] Marrett joined the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in 1967, upgraded to Associate Fellow in 1981 and was elected a Fellow in 2011.[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Estrella Warbird Museum Marrett Biography, retrieved May 31, 2008.
  2. ^ Webb AFB Notable Graduates, retrieved June 1, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Nebraska Department of Aeronautics Biography, retrieved May 31, 2008.
  4. ^ Aviation Speakers Bureau Marrett Biography, retrieved June 1, 2008.
  5. ^ (1994) USAF Test Pilot School 50 Years and Beyond, p. 86
  6. ^ Contrails Over the Mojave Product Description Amazon, retrieved June 1, 2008.
  7. ^ Morem, Bill (November 11, 2010). "Atascadero veteran of Vietnam risked his life for downed fliers". The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, California: Estrella WarBirds Museum). Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ Centennial of Flight Press Release, retrieved June 1, 2008.
  9. ^ Marrett (2004). Testing Death. p. 44. 
  10. ^ Marrett (2006). Cheating Death. p. 84. 
  11. ^ a b c "A-1 Skyraider "Sock-It-To-Em"". Paso Robles, California: Estrella Warbird Museum. October 25, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ Marrett (2006). Cheating Death. p. 222. 
  13. ^ a b Holland, Ellen (March 19, 2008). "Local author draws on experiences as test pilot for latest book". Atascadero News (Atascadero, California: News Media Corporation). Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  14. ^ Nebraska Aviation Symposium, retrieved June 1, 2008.
  15. ^ Grand Island, Nebraska School District News Release, retrieved June 1, 2008.
  16. ^ Young, Heather (November 3, 2011). "Atascadero Resident is Inducted as a SETP fellow". Atascadero News (Atascadero, California: News Media Corporation). Retrieved November 6, 2011. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]