The first black Air Force Thunderbird, Lloyd Newton


Lloyd "Fig" Newton
Date: 
Thu, 1942-12-24

he birth of Lloyd Newton in 1942 is marked on this date. He is an African American Air Force general (retired), educator, and administrator.

He was born in Ridgeland, SC, to tenant farmers, John and Annie Newton. As a young man, Lloyd “Fig” Newton worked the land with his family and learned to appreciate the value of hard labor and self-sufficiency. Newton attended segregated schools in SC and graduated from Jasper High School. After high school, Newton finished in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Tennessee State University in Nashville. He was named a Distinguished Graduate of the program, receiving his Bachelor's degree in Aviation Education and a commission as an officer in the United States Air Force.

Newton completed pilot training and became a fighter pilot in the F-4D Phantom II. He flew 269 combat missions during the Vietnam War, including 79 missions over North Vietnam. From the beginning of his career in the Air Force, General Newton wanted to become a member of the elite flying demonstration team, the Thunderbirds. Ten years after entering the Air Force, he achieved his goal, becoming the first African American pilot to join that elite team.

After leaving the team (between 1988 and 1993), Newton was an Air Force liaison officer with the U.S. House of Representatives. His command and assignments were at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma; Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, where he commanded the Air Force's only F-117 Stealth Fighter Wing. From 1993 to 1995, he was Director of Operations, United States Special Operations Command in Florida. In 1997, General Newton was the Air Force's Assistant Vice Chief of Staff managing the Pentagon's Headquarters Air Force staff. A command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours, General Newton has flown a variety of aircraft, including the T-37, T-38, F-15, F-16 and the F-117 Stealth Fighter.

General Newton is one of 11 four-star generals in the United States Air Force. He was commander of Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base, TX where he recruited, trained, and educated all Air Force personnel.

Newton credits his success to his parents teaching him the Golden Rule and the love of learning. "The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. And the more I did, the more I wanted to do." General Newton's educational background also includes a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from George Washington University.

Newton’s awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, and numerous other military decorations.

In 2000 he joined Pratt & Whitney, as vice president of international military programs and business development. The company is a world leader in the design, manufacture, and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. Newton is married to the former Eloise Morning of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Reference:
The World Book Encyclopedia.
Copyright 1996, World Book, Inc.
ISBN 0-7166-0096-X

To Have a Military Career

Person / name: 

Newton, Lloyd