Emile P. Brettel, III (Bret)


Emile P. Brettel, III (Bret) from Mobile, Alabama enlisted in the USAF in 1955 when he was about 17 years old. After completing Basic Training he attended the Ground Control Approach Controller course at Keesler AFB. Mississippi, then he was off to England as an Air Traffic Controller.

While there he applied for and was accepted into the Officer Candidate School at Lackland AFB, Texas and class 63A starting in April 1962. He was an A/1C, was married to Gretchen (Joy) and they had 2 children.

After completing OCS Bret was sent to Moody AFB, Georgia (9/62 – 10/63) for Undergraduate Pilot Training then to Dover AFB, Delaware (10/63 – 5/65) as a KC-97G SAC Tanker Pilot. In May of 1965 he was transferred to Westover where he remained until December 1965 when he was sent to Sewart AFB, Tennessee as a C-130E TAC Airlift pilot.

His last assignment while on active duty was to Maxwell AFB, AL where he served as pilot on U-3, O-2 and C-7 aircraft, as well as instructor pilot, SEFE and Director of Operations.

Emile left active duty in 1969 and went into flying in Alaska for Interior Airways. In 1972 he entered the Civil Service and remained as such until 1984 when he retired from Civil Service as a GM 13. He remained in the Air Force Reserve and in September 1997 retired at the rank of Lt Col with 42 years service.

Emile and Gretchen separated during his service time (by then they had 3 children) and in the early 1970’s Emile met and married Wanda. Emile completed his Masters Degree as well as the Squadron Officer School and Air Command and Staff College.

Emile and Wanda now call Dauphin Island, Alabama home.


Emile Peter Brettel III (Air Force, Retired) – died at his home in Elberta, Alabama August 16, 2006 at age 68. He was preceded in death by his parents Emile Peter Brettel Jr. and Alice George Brettel and his brother, Roderick Brettel of Point Clear, AL. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Wanda Rae Brettel; daughter, Cheryl Ann Brettel of Daphne; son, Stephen (Johanna) Brettel of Waveland, MS; daughter, Karen Marie (Michael) Bennett of Montgomery, AL; grandchildren, Adeva Wilson, Trevor Holt, Matthew Bennett, Hannah Bennett, Ryan Brettel; two great-grandchildren, Tristan Wilson and Braden Wilson; niece, Kim Childress of Magnolia Springs and mother-in-law, Mary Lou Hamlett of Elberta, AL. Mr. Brettel served in the United States Air Force. He was a pilot, a Vietnam Veteran and retired from Montgomery Air Force Base, in Montgomery, AL. He was a former President of the Dauphin Island Property Owner’s Association, a Past President of the Dauphin Island Sportsmen’s Club, and a member of the High Hills Hunting Club. Mr. Brettel served as a volunteer in the Providence Hospital Auxiliary from 1999 to 2002.


Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,-and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of-wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew-
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God

John G. Magee

Visitation service will be at Pine Rest Funeral Home at 16541 US Hwy 98, Foley, AL 36535 Saturday, August 19, 2006 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society 26148 Capital Drive, Suite F, Daphne, AL 36526; Mercy Medical Hospice, PO Box 1090 Daphne, AL 36526 and Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604. Funeral arrangements by Pine Rest Funeral Home.

Press-Register (Mobile, AL) – Friday, August 18, 2006