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Lloyd W. Newton

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A veteran of 269 Vietnam combat missions, the first African-American Thunderbird pilot, the commander of three air wings and one air division, and the commander the Air Force Air Education and Training command, four star general Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton was the son of share croppers. Although his parents were not able to attend high school, they instilled in their son the priorities of respect, hard work, and a good education. Newton was encouraged by an Air Force recruiter, who suggested that if he attended college he could become an Air Force officer, a thought which seemed remote to an African-American growing up in the still generally segregated South. After high school Newton enrolled in the aviation program at Tennessee State University in Nashville. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in aviation education, he was commissioned through the ROTC program in 1966. The following year he completed pilot training at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona. Excelling at flight school, he qualified to fly the F-4 Phantom, and was sent to Southeast Asia in 1968. After completing his 269 combat missions, Newton was assigned as an instructor pilot at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. Then, in 1974, he was selected for the Thunderbirds, serving until 1978. Following the Thunderbirds, he spent four years as an Air Force congressional liaison officer, then served as commander of three different air wings, and, finally, as commander of the 833rd Air Division. Promoted to brigadier general in 1991, Newton was named a four-star general in 1997, the only African-American four-star general in the Air Force. At the time of his retirement in 2000, General Newton had over 57,000 military and civilian personnel under his command. After his retirement, he served as a vice president at Pratt & Whitney, responsible for their aircraft engine development, and was an executive and board member with several other corporations, including the NBAA and L3 Technologies. General Newton has received honorary doctorate degrees from two universities.
Inducted in 2018.
Portrait Location: Hall of Fame Hallway

Induction Video

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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