Marion Donald Garrett
I had pilot training at Marianna, FL and Greenville, MS, then F-100 training at Luke and Nellis. I served in the Fight’en Tenth TFS, Hahn AB Germany as a Victor Alert Pilot for four years and as an F-100 instructor.
I then served four years at Del Rio, TX as a T38 Instructor and Academic Instructor, separated from active duty in 1969, and worked for the Louisiana ANG as an alert pilot in the F102 and transitioned into the F-100 and served as a Technician Instructor and 122TFS Commander.
My next move was to GA ANG at Dobbins AFB in 1973 to transition the unit into F100s. I served as the 116TFG/DO and then as 116TFW/DO and Technician Air Commander, then returned to the LA ANG in 1979 at New Orleans as the 159TFG/CC to convert the unit to the F4.
In 1983 returned to active duty as the Reserve Forces Advisor to the 12AF/CC at Bergstrom AFB. I accepted the 125FW/CC position on active duty in the FL ANG at Jacksonville in 1987 and served until retirement in 1990.
After retiring from the USAF, I worked for the FAA from 1990-2000 as an Aviation Safety Inspector and checked out in the B-727 and B-737.
I presently live in Fort Mill, SC and terrorize the golf course.
From son Donald Garrett: Marion Donald Garrett (Col USAF, Ret) my father, flew west during the night after a hard-fought battle with a sudden illness.
His career in the Air Force and Air National Guard lasted for 32 years and he flew Huns, Deuces, Thuds, Phantoms, and Vipers. Luke, Nellis, Hahn, Del Rio, NAS New Orleans, Dobbins, and Jacksonville were the places we called home.
After he retired, he went to work as an Aviation Safety Inspector for the FAA. I always thought that it was so he could see old friends on the flight deck and reminisce about the fighter days. He was a good guy and a shit hot fighter pilot.
My dad was my hero as I was growing up, and I wanted to be just like him. I was fortunate to follow in his footsteps. I would never be able to fill his boots. I love you, dad.
Colonel (Ret) Marion Donald “Don” Garrett, USAF/ANG, 83, son of Wesley M. and Mary Cooper Garrett, passed away peacefully on July 23rd, 2020 following a valiant battle with an unexpected illness.
Don was born and raised in South Carolina, where he attended schools in Taylors, North Augusta and Furman University in Greenville.
After leaving Furman, Don enlisted in the Army and received infantry training at Fort Jackson in Columbia. In February of 1959, he entered the United States Air Force as an aviation cadet in the undergraduate pilot training program at Graham Air Base in Marianna, Florida. Don’s basic training was served at Greenville AFB in Mississippi. Don received his commission and Air Force Wings on June 14, 1960, and was selected to fly fighter aircraft. He was trained in the F-100 aircraft at Luke AFB, Arizona and Nellis AFB, Nevada. Following completion of his advanced training in May of 1961, he was assigned to the 10th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hahn AB, Germany, where he served as a fighter pilot and instructor pilot in the F-100 for a four-year tour of duty.
Returning to the States in 1965, Don completed pilot instructor training at Randolph AFB, Texas. Upon completion, he served in the Air Training Command as a flight instructor and academic instructor at Laughlin AFB, Texas until January of 1969. Don then separated from active duty and joined the 159th Fighter-Interceptor Group, Louisiana Air National Guard in February of 1969. He served as a full-time interceptor pilot and completed the USAF Interceptor Weapons School at Tyndall AFB, Florida. When his unit converted to the F-100 aircraft, Don served as Chief of Standardization/Evaluation and was selected as Commander of the 122nd Tactical Fighter Squadron in July of 1971.
In July of 1973, Don transferred to the 116th Tactical Fighter Group, Georgia Air National Guard as Deputy Commander for Operations to direct that unit in the conversion to the F-100. He would later direct the conversion of the 116th Tactical Fighter Group to the F-105 “Wild Weasel” aircraft. In March of 1978, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel.
Colonel Garrett returned to the Louisiana ANG in June of 1979 as Commander of the 159th Tactical Fighter Group during that unit’s conversion to the F-4 aircraft. He served as the Group Commander until July 1, 1983, and was then selected as the Air National Guard Advisor to the Commander, Twelfth Air Force Base, Bergstrom AFB, Texas.
Following that four-year active duty tour, Colonel Garrett was named as Commander of the 125th Fighter-Interceptor Group by the Adjutant General of Florida. Colonel Garrett was a COMMAND PILOT with over 5000 hours in the F-100, T-38, F-102, F-105, F-4, and F-16 aircraft, retiring after a stellar career in July of 1990.
Upon retirement, Don began a ten-year career with the FAA as an Aviation Safety Inspector, retiring in June of 2000.
Don is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 60 years, Jacqueline (Craft) Garrett, his daughter Robin Welsh, son Don Garrett, sister, Connie Triplett, and brother-in-law Gene, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Don was an avid golfer and longtime member of the Fort Mill Golf Club, where his friends were many, and his nature competitive. He transitioned very quickly from the wild blue yonder to the lush green landscape that would eventually carry him home.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a private “Celebration of Life” was held for family members. Don’s final resting place will be in his beloved wife’s family cemetery located in Raleigh, Mississippi where another “Celebration of Life” was held for friends and family, complete with full military honors.
Don will be remembered as a beloved husband, father, and hero who loved life as much as he loved his family and friends.
- 1961-196510TFS/50TFW Hahn AB (F-100)
- 1965-1969 3640FTW Del Rio, TX (T-38)
- 1969-1973 159 TFG/LA ANG (F-102, F-100)
- 1973-1979 116TFW/GA ANG (F-100, F-105)
- 1979-1983 159 TFG/LA ANG (F-4)
- 1983-1987 12AF HDQTRS. Bergstrom AFB (F-4, F-16)
- 1987-1990 125TFW FL ANG (F-16)
Awards & Decorations
Military & Civilian Education
- Pilot Instructor TrainingAcademic Instructor Training
- Interceptor Weapons Instructor Training
- Air Command and Staff College
- Industrial College of the Armed Forces
- Furman University
- University of Maryland