Lt. General Devol "Rock" Brett
Lt. General Devol "Rock" Brett (USAF Ret.) passed away on Saturday, August 14, 2010. A resident of Naples, FL, he was born at Letterman Military Hospital, Presidio of San Francisco on August 1, 1923. He was the son of Lt. General George H. Brett, the first chief of the Air Corp and grandson of Army Major C.A. Devol.
After graduation from the Sullivan and Landon preparatory school in DC, General Brett earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from George Washington University. He graduated from the USAF Air Tactical School, from Great Britain's Royal Air Force Staff College and the U.S. National War College. He was a Trustee at the U.S. Air Force Academy and this year was named an outstanding alumnus of the Landon School.
An illustrious career in the Air Force began with the 86th Fighter Wing in Germany after WW II, including flights in the early stages of the Berlin Airlift. He flew 100 combat missions in a P-51 in Korea. As Vice Commander of the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing, he flew more than 100 combat missions in Vietnam. He was shot down over North Vietnam but was rescued by Air Sea Rescue. It was his rescue that led to the formation of the Air Sea Rescue Squadron that has been active ever since. Air Sea Rescue and the subsequent development of helicopters designed specifically for these efforts was of major interest to General Brett, and he took great pride in serving as a consultant on several major Defense projects developing rescue strategies and technologies that recently have been extended to civilian situations.
Following his Air Force flying years he continued his Air Force career serving in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense. He became the first Air Force U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group Chief in Iran and was named Allied Air Forces Southern Europe Commander of the 16th Air Force. Following his retirement from the Air Force, he joined the Institute for Defense Analysis that directly supports the office of the Secretary of Defense. This included major efforts involving personnel recovery and combat search and rescue.
He was the recipient of more than 25 medals, including the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters. He also earned medals from Italy and Vietnam, and was awarded Vietnamese and Turkish Air Force pilot wings.
After fully retiring, he gave freely of his time to area youth including giving speeches at Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrations and supporting the Junior ROTC Program in Collier County. He was also very active in the Air Force Falcon Founders Foundation that supports high school students who are candidates for the Air Force Academy.
General Brett is survived by his wife, Lou Longino Brett; his son, George Howard Brett II and wife, Sally; daughter, Karla Wickett and son-inlaw, Ken; grandchildren, (Lt. USAF) Sarah Scott and Michael Dietz, Megan Brett, Brett Thompson, Lauren and Shane Hamilton, and Elizabeth Wickett; great-grandson, Cole Hamilton; and stepchildren, Kathy Sanchez, and Nolan and Kay Sanchez.
General Brett was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Mini Brett.
Interment will be in Arlington Cemetery on December 9th, but a Celebration of his Life will be held at Bentley Village on Saturday, August 28th at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Air Force Academy Association.