George Marrett

Guest Speaker Manager, Estrella Warbirds Museum

George Marrett

George J. Marrett was born in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1935 and graduated from Iowa State College in 1957 with a BS in Chemistry. Shortly thereafter, he entered the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant from the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). George graduated from pilot training in 1959 at Webb, AFB in Texas, where he flew the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. He then went to advanced flight training at Moody AFB in Georgia where he flew the North American F-86L, SabreJet. After four years in the 84th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Hamilton AFB, CA, flying the McDonnell F-101B Voodoo, George was selected to attend the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB in 1964. There he flew the Northrop T-38 Talon, Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and General Dynamics F-106 Delta Dart. After graduation, he transferred to the Fighter Test Branch at Edwards for three years, where he tested the McDonnell F-4C Phantom, Northrop F-5A and the General Dynamics F-111A Aardvark.

George Marrett

George Marrett

During the Vietnam conflict, Marrett flew the Douglas A-1 Skyraider as a "Sandy" rescue pilot in Thailand. 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. In 2003, Smithsonian Institute Pres published his non-fiction book about flying combat in Southeast Aisia, titled, "Cheating Death: Combat Air Rescues in Vietnam and Laos". The book was republished in soft cover by Harper Collins in 2006.

Upon returning from the war, Marrett joined Hughes Aircraft Company as an experimental test pilot. For twenty years he flew test programs which helped develop attack radar and missiles in F-14, F-15, F-16 and F-18 fighters and an early version of the B-2 Stealth bomber. He has flown over 40 types of military aircraft and logged over 9,500 hours.

Marrett is the author of three Air Force flight test reports and seventeen stories for aviation magazines, including Wings, Tailhook, Flight Journal, Air & Space and Aerospace Testing International, a British magazine.

His second book, "Howard Hughes: Aviator", was published in October 2004. Marrett appeared on the History Channel programs, "Boy's Toys and Modern Miracles" about Howard Hughes. He was also in "Man, Moment & Machines" talking about the Spruce Goose. Marrett was in both versions of the "Making of the Aviator", that aired on several channels. He was a talking head on the 2nd DVD of the movie, "The Aviator". His third book, about his twenty years with Hughes Aircraft Company is titled: "Testing Death: Hughes Aircraft Test Pilots and Cold War Weaponry".

George's 4th book was published in 2008 and titled: "Contrails over the Mojave." It is about flight testing at Edwards AFB during the mid-1960's and was published by the Naval Institute Press.

Marrett retired from Hughes in 1989 and lives in Atascadero, CA. He is one of the early members of the Estrella Warbird Museum, where he enjoys flying his privately owned plane, a 1945 Stinson L-5E Sentinel. This plane is on display at Estrella WarBirds Museum. He is the chief pilot for D.P. Industries flying their King Air C-90 turbo-prop and is on the Board of Trustees of the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, CA.

In September, 2011, George was inducted as a SETP Fellow along with former astronaut Mike Collins. Induction as a Fellow with the Society of Experimental Test Pilots is one of the highest honors a test pilot can receive as they are nominated by their peers. Read about the induction ceremony here.

Related Pictures