Colonel Everette S. “Rett” Newton

Colonel Everette S. “Rett” Newton

Board Member

Rett Newton retired as a Colonel from the US Air Force in 2011 following a 28-year career that included leading-edge engineering, F-15E Strike Eagle leadership, and assignments as an Arabic foreign area officer. Rett entered the Air Force in 1982 after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics at Campbell University. Following Officer Training School, he completed a second Bachelor of Science degree in the Air Force Institute of Technology electrical engineering program.

Rett’s follow-on assignments included a staff tour at Headquarters Tactical Air Command in the Electronic Warfare Directorate, F-4E/G Wild Weasel flying in the Philippines, and F-15E Strike Eagle flying based primarily in North Carolina. He held numerous fighter squadron positions, to include instructor, flight examiner, operations officer, and commander. He completed two tours in Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Southern Watch, and was selected as an initial cadre instructor for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia F-15S program. In 2002, Rett was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Pacific Command as the Chief of the Current Operations Air Branch where he was a key leader in the execution of enhanced Pacific air defense programs, and support for the largest disaster relief operation in history following the 2004 tsunami in Asia.

Rett served a tour as the United States Air Attaché in Cairo, Egypt followed by an assignment as the Director of Theater Security Cooperation for United States Air Forces Central Command. In this capacity, he was responsible for development and execution of security cooperation activities in a 16-nation area of responsibility covering the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central/South Asia.

During his military career, Rett logged approximately 3,500 flight hours in T-41, T-37, T-38, F-4, F-15, and C-12 aircraft. In retirement, he has continued his passion for aviation by designing, building, operating and maintaining unmanned aircraft systems with autopilot, high definition cameras, datalink, and first person view. Rett joined the Duke University Marine Laboratory team in June 2015, serving as initial cadre for the Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing (MaRRS) Lab where he has conducted aerial drone operations locally and globally in support of scientific research. He is also a fourth-year Duke University PhD candidate studying Marine Science and Conservation and in 2017, Rett was elected as the Mayor of the Town of Beaufort, NC.


  • PhD Student, Duke University Marine Science and Conservation, 2016 – present
  • Joint Forces Staff College, Phase II Professional Military Education, 2002
  • Graduate, Air War College, Correspondence, 2002
  • Graduate, USAF Maintenance Officer Course, 1997
  • M.A., Military Studies – American Military University, 1996
  • Graduate, Air Command and Staff College, Correspondence, 1996
  • Graduate, U.S. Air-to-Ground Operations School, 1989
  • Graduate, USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training, 1988
  • Graduate, Squadron Officers School, Correspondence, 1985
  • Graduate, USAF Communications/Electronics Course, 1985
  • B.S., Electrical Engineering – Air Force Institute of Technology, 1984
  • B.S., Mathematics – Campbell University, 1982
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