With the passing of Lt. Gen. Devol Brett, USAF (Ret.) on August 14, 2010, the Air Force Historical Foundation lost one of its most wholehearted and passionate supporters. Known as "Rock" to many friends and colleagues, he believed that knowledge of air power and U.S. Air Force history and heritage, simply put, was critical for an effective national defense. Rock put his heart into the Foundation as its vice president from the late 1980s through the middle of the 1990s. He, along with the Foundation's then-president, Gen. Bryce Poe, past president Maj. Gen. Ramsay Potts, and a team of supporters organized a series of annual air power history symposia in Washington, Hampton, Virginia, at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, and in the United Kingdom. At the same time, they were tireless in seeking funding to support the Foundation's activities during some very trying years. In fact, the Foundation survived in large measure due to the work of General Brett and his friends.
The son of Army Air Forces (AAF) Lt. Gen. George Brett, Rock's military career began in the Presidio of San Francisco at his birth in Letterman Hospital on August 1, 1923. Growing up in the AAF, Rock knew "Hap" Arnold, "Tooey" Spaatz, Ira Eaker, and Frank Andrews, almost as members of his family. Gen. Bernard Schriever married Rock's sister, Dora, in the Arnold's house at Bolling Field, in the District of Columbia. Rock graduated from the Landon School in Washington, D.C. and the United States Military Academy in 1945. He did well at the Academy, but spent considerable time marching off demerits that he seemed to have accumulated by a restive opposition to discipline, at least as he told it. In 1953, he attended the Royal Air Force Staff College at Bracknell, United Kingdom, and in 1966, he earned a Master of Arts degree in international affairs from The George Washington University.
Rock flew 100 combat missions in P-51s during the Korean War and more than 100 the Southeast Asia War. In the latter, he did so while serving as...