Devol “Rock” Brett

Photo added by William Bjornstad

Devol “Rock” Brett

  • Birth 1 Aug 1923 San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
  • Death 14 Aug 2010 Naples, Collier County, Florida, USA
  • Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
  • Memorial ID 58924407

US Air Force Lieutenant General. A highly decorated Korean and Vietnam War combat fighter pilot, he rose in rank to become the commander of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe. Born Carroll Devol Brett at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, he was the son of US Army Air Force General George Brett. He attended private high school, at Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland and graduated in 1941. He was then selected to attend the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating in 1945 with a 2nd lieutenant's commission as a pilot in the US Army Air Corps. While there, he was given the nickname "Rock" for his toughness. After transition training, he attended the US Army Air Corps Junior Officers Course at Orlando, Fla. His first assignment was at Horsching, Austria in 1946 and in 1947 he was assigned to 86th Fighter Wing at Munich, Germany, where he flew P-47nThunderbolt and P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft, as well as C-47 Skytrain cargo aircraft in the first days of the Berlin Airlift. In 1948 he returned to the US and was assigned as a student and then instructor at the Air Tactical School, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. During the Korean War, he took part in more than 100 combat missions, flying P-51D Mustang aircraft out of the 18th Fighter Wing, sometimes leading as many as 36 aircraft on a mission, each typically carrying two 500 pound bombs, six rockets, plus machine gun ammunition. Upon completion of his tour in 1951, he served as a senior duty officer in the Joint Operations Center of 5th Air Force at Seoul, South Korea. In 1952 he returned to the US and commanded an F-84 squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and in 1953 he was selected to attend the Royal Air Force Staff College at Bracknell, Berkshire, England, joining the 79th Fighter-Bomber Squadron at Royal Air Force Station Woodbridge, Suffolk, England upon finishing the course. In April 1957 he became commander of the F-100-equipped 355th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina. While there, his unit made four major deployments to Europe and participated in both the Lebanese Crisis of 1958 and the Berlin Crisis of 1961. In July 1962 he became commander of the 4452nd Standardization and Evaluation Squadron at Waco, Texas, subsequently commanding the 4450th Standardization and Evaluation Group at Langley Air Force Base (now Joint Base Langley-Eustis), Virginia. In 1964 he entered the National War College at Fort McNair, Washington DC and upon graduation in 1965 he was assigned to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Operations, Washington DC. While there, he earned a Master's Degree in International Affairs in 1966 from George Washington University at Washington DC. In July 1967 he was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam and served as vice-commander of the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing in July 1967. During his tour, he flew more than 100 combat missions in F-4C Phantom fighter aircraft, was shot down over North Vietnam and rescued before being captured. In February 1968 he was assigned to Headquarters 7th Air Force as Deputy Director of the Tactical Air Control Center at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. In September 1968 he became named commander of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England and a year later he became inspector general for Headquarters US Air Forces in Europe at Lindsey Air Station, Germany. In September 1970 he returned to the US and was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs) in Washington DC as the director, Near East and South Asia Region. In 1973 he became the senior US military officer in Iran as chief of the US Military Mission with the Iranian armed forces and the US Military Assistance Advisory Group to Iran. In September 1975 he was appointed the US Representative to the Permanent Military Deputies Group and Chief, US Element, Central Treaty Organization, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. In 1977 he became the commander of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe at Naples, Italy (part of Allied Forces Southern Europe) and (jointly) commander of US Air Forces in Europe's 16th Air Force, based at Torrejon Air Base, Spain (now closed) and he retired in these positions in 1978 with 33 years of continuous military service. Among his military and foreign decorations and awards include Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 oak leaf clusters, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with 7 oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Purple Heart, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, the Italian Presidential Grand Order of Merit, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with gold star, and the Vietnamese Air Force Pilot Wings. After his military retirement, he became a private military consultant for the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), specializing in conventional and nuclear tactical systems with emphasis on the employment of air power. While at IDA, he also did studies on search and rescue and personnel recovery for the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office. Among his work was a joint report in 1985, with retired US Air Force General Bryce Poe, for the Federal Construction Council, on quality control of Air Force construction programs. He retired as a consultant in 1998 and died 12 years later at the age of 87.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Created by: John Michael
  • Added: 19 Sep 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 58924407
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Devol “Rock” Brett (1 Aug 1923–14 Aug 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 58924407, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by John Michael (contributor 46848992) .