AE Alumnus George K. Muellner, 1943-2019: In Memoriam
Retired Air Force Lieutenant General George K. Muellner, who received a B.S. in aerospace engineering in 1967 from the University of Illinois, passed away on February 11 in Newport Beach, California. He was 75.
Professor Emeritus Harry Hilton recalled having Muellner as a student in several of the courses he taught.
“George’s high degree of professionalism in all his endeavors made him a tradition par excellence,” Hilton said. “His contributions were many and many facetted. He was active in the AIAA and served on numerous important committees. His contributions in leading Boeing’s units are legendary and he also served on the University of Illinois College of Engineering advisory board.”
While at U of I, Muellner earned his commission into the Air Force through the ROTC program. He went on to become a fighter pilot, test pilot, a classified programs specialist, a top technologist for Boeing, a senior leader of the aerospace industry, leader of a number of aerospace societies and associations, and former Air Force Association chairman of the board.
In addition to his degree from Illinois, Muellner earned master’s degrees from the University of Southern California, California State University, and Auburn University. He also completed the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base and the1991 Defense Systems Management College in Fort Belvoir.
According to his biography on the U.S. Air Force website, Muellner spent most of his career as a fighter pilot, fighter weapons instructor and test pilot with more than 5,300 hours in F-4, A-7, F-15 and F-16 aircraft. He completed 690 combat missions in Vietnam flying the F-4, and during Operation Desert Storm he commanded the Joint Stars deployment, logging another 50 combat sorties. He has commanded a classified test squadron, the Joint Stars Squadron and a tactical fighter wing.
After 31 years in the Air Force, Mueller retired in 1998. He went straight to work for Boeing, where he was vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Phantom Works advanced research and development unit. In 2001, he became president, the vice president and general manager of Air Force systems, and later, president of advanced systems, integrated defense systems.
Muellner retired from Boeing in 2008, but continued as a consultant and served on a number of corporate boards.
Read more about his life and career in the Air Force Magazine.