Woman Becomes First Black Female Pilot in AL Nat'l Guard

Jul 24, 2018

Retired Col. Christine Knighton pins aviator wings on 2nd Lt. Kayla Freeman at Freeman's graduation from the Army Aviation school, June 21, 2018, at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Credit 1st Lt. Jermaine Thurston / U.S. Army

A woman from Alabama recently became the first black female pilot in the history of the Alabama National Guard.

News outlets report Second Lieutenant Kayla Freeman graduated from Fort Rucker's Army Aviation School last month. Freeman graduated from Tuskegee University in 2016, where she was enrolled in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

Freeman's aviator wings were pinned by retired Colonel Christine Knighton, the second black woman in the Department of Defense to earn aviator wings and the first ever from Georgia. Freeman says Knighton has been an inspiration since college and "it was only right" to have her do the pinning.

Freeman is currently at Fort Hood in Texas, where she is preparing to deploy to the Middle East as a platoon leader in the Alabama National Guard's 1-169th Aviation Battalion.