George J. Marrett
Class of 1953
Hall of Honor 2006
George J. Marrett was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, and graduated from GIHS in 1953. After graduating from college with a degree in chemistry, Marrett entered the U.S. Air Force as a Second Lieutenant from the Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He graduated from pilot training in 1959 and later was selected to attend the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California. Upon graduation, he was transferred to the Fighter Test Branch of Flight Test Operations at Edwards and completed three years flight-testing the latest Air Force fighters. A manuscript about his flight-testing at Edwards titled Contrails Over the Mojave, has been completed and the Naval Institute Press will publish this, his fourth book, in Spring 2008.
In 1968-1969 Marrett flew the Douglas A-1 Skyraider as a “Sandy” rescue pilot in the 602nd Fighter Quadron (C), C for Commando, from Udorn and Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Bases, Thialand. He completed 188 combat missions in Vietnam; 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. His first nonfiction book Cheating Death: Combat Air Rescues in Vietnam and Laos, about flying combat in Vietnam and Laos, was published by the Smithsonian Institute Press in February 2003 and reprinted in soft cover by HarperCollins in June 2006.
Upon return from the war in Southeast Asia, Marrett joined Hughes Aircraft Company as an experimental test pilot. For twenty years he flew test programs in military aircraft testing electronic weapons for the Cold War. His third book is titled: Testing Death: Hughes Aircraft Test Pilots and Cold War Weaponry. Praeger Security International published the book in May 2006.
Marrett’s second book is titled: Howard Hughes: Aviator and was published by the Naval Institute Press in October 2004. He was interviewed on the History Channel several times and was a technical consultant for the Academy Award winning movie The Aviator starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese. Marrett is a “talking head” on both the 15-minute and 30-minute versions of The Making of The Aviator seen on the History Channel, Bravo, MTV and American Movie Classics as well as the second disk of the DVD of The Aviator that was released in May 2005.
Marrett is the author of three Air Force flight test reports published on the F-4C Phantom at Edwards AFB and seventeen articles published in flying magazines. He was selected to the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame and inducted in January 2006. Marrett joined The Society of Experimental Test Pilots in 1967 and upgraded to Associate Fellow in 1981. He has flown over 40 types of military aircraft, logging 8,500 hours of flying time.
George Marrett has been married to his wife Jan (Sheehan, GIHS 1957) for 50 years and they live in Atascadero, California. Jan has published a book titled: Looking Back: Nebraska Education and Legacy. George and Jan have two sons, three grandsons, and one granddaughter ranging in age from 13 to 19.