Major Verl E. Jett
Major Verl E. Jett
Verl Erwin Jett was born at Belle, Missouri on 25 May 1920. He moved to California at age nine, eventually attending Santa Maria Junior College. After graduating in 1940, he enlisted in the Army as an aviation cadet. Upon graduation from flight training at Kelly Field, Texas on 15 August 1941, he was sent to Wheeler Field, Hawaii to the 45th Pursuit Group. He remained there through the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor until August 1942, flying P-36s and P-40s.
In August 1942 Jett was sent to Milne Bay, New Guinea, where he was assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, flying P-39s and P-40s. He scored his first victory on 28 December 1942, downing a Sonia reconnaissance aircraft near Goodenough Island.
Promoted to captain, on 1 July 1943 Jett was transferred to the 431st Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, to fly P-38s. On 18 August he shot down two Zekes near Wewak, New Guinea and three days later destroyed a twin engine fighter in the same area. He became an ace on 13 September when he was credited with downing a Nick near Wewak.
In October Jett assumed command of the squadron. He was credited with damaging a Val dive bomber on 26 December and shot down a Zeke over Wewak on 18 January 1944. He scored his last victory, a Lily bomber, on 3 February. Returning to the States in June 1944 he was transferred to Ephrata, Washington. Assigned to the 430th Army Air Force Base Unit, he remained there until December 1944 when he was sent to Foggia, Italy to fly P-38s with the 96th Fighter Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group.
Jett returned to the States in November 1945 and was stationed at Luke Field, Arizona. Remaining in the Air Force, he retired as a colonel in August 1963.
Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters