The Erbium (Er) doped GaN is a promising gain medium for optical amplifiers and solid-state high energy lasers due to its high thermal conductivity, wide bandgap, mechanical hardness, and ability to emit in the highly useful 1.5 μm window. Finding the mechanisms to enhance the optical absorption efficiency at a resonant pump wavelength and emission efficiency at 1.5 μm is highly desirable. We report here the in-situ synthesis of the Er and Yb co-doped GaN epilayers (Er + Yb:GaN) by metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). It was observed that the 1.5 μm emission intensity of the Er doped GaN (Er:GaN) under 980 nm resonant pump can be boosted by a factor of 7 by co-doping the sample with Yb. The temperature dependent PL emission at 1.5 μm in the Er + Yb:GaN epilayers under an above bandgap excitation revealed a small thermal quenching of 12% from 10 to 300 K. From these results, it can be inferred that the process of energy transfer from Yb3+ to Er3+ ions is highly efficient, and non-radiative recombination channels are limited in the Er + Yb:GaN epilayers synthesized in-situ by MOCVD. Our results point to an effective way to improve the emission efficiency of the Er doped GaN for optical amplification and lasing applications.