Jed Pearson

General Pearson was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps upon graduation from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering in June 1960. He was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1961.

From November 1961 to July 1964, Jed was assigned to the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, Beaufort, South Carolina. During his assignment there, Jed’s first operational tour was aboard the USS Independence with VMA-324. During August 1964 he returned to Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi, remaining there through September 1965 as a flight instructor.

Upon graduation from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Maryland, in 1966, Jed was ordered to the Flight Test Division, where his assignments included the initial carrier trials and structural demonstrations of the F-4J aircraft. During this assignment he was elected as a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. Ordered overseas in July 1968, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, DaNang, Vietnam, as the Maintenance Officer with VMFA-542. During this tour, Jed flew over 400 combat missions.

In September 1969 he was assigned to the Naval Missile Test Center at Point Mugu, California, where he served in Flight Test and was the project officer on the AWG-14 Radar and AIM-7F missile until January 1973. In June 1973, he reported to VMFA-232, where he served as the Maintenance Officer for thirteen months in the Western Pacific.

From September 1974 until June 1977, Jed was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. as the Aviation Plans Officer in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Aviation. While at Headquarters, he was nominated as a USMC Space Shuttle pilot.

He then commanded Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 24, 1st Marine Amphibious Brigade, Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, for one year. From June 1978 to July 1981, he commanded VMFA-235. During the last year of this command, VMFA-235 won the Robert M. Hanson Award as the “Outstanding Fighter Squadron of the Year.”

In May 1984, he assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group 11 after which he was promoted to brigadier general. Various staff and operational assignments followed including assignment as CG, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing and later as the Deputy Commander of Marine Central Command in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. His last assignment in the Marine Corps was as Head of America’s Manned Space Flight program at NASA. He supervised 19 successful Space Shuttle missions including the first Hubble Space Telescope repair mission. His responsibilities included operations, safety, personnel, logistics and budgeting for all matters related to the manned space flight program. After retirement from the Marine Corps, General Pearson remained as the Head of Manned Space Flight for three years, and for his service in this assignment he was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.