HomeNewsArticle Display

Former Thunderbirds pilot continues to break barriers, honors Wright brothers legacy, wins Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner, pose for a photo after the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. According to a NAA press release, the trophy was created in 1948 and is presented annually to a “living American who has contributed significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner, pose for a photo after the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. According to a NAA press release, the trophy was created in 1948 and is presented annually to a “living American who has contributed significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

Retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner, delivers remarks during the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. According to an NAA press release, the trophy was created in 1948 and is presented annually to a “living American who has contributed significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

Retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner, delivers remarks during the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. According to an NAA press release, the trophy was created in 1948 and is presented annually to a “living American who has contributed significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein delivers remarks during the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. Goldfein introduced retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein delivers remarks during the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. Goldfein introduced retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein delivers remarks during the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. Goldfein introduced retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein delivers remarks during the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. Goldfein introduced retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein delivers remarks during the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. Goldfein introduced retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein delivers remarks during the 71st National Aeronautics Association Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14, 2018. Goldfein introduced retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy winner. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Retired Gen. Lloyd Newton, the first African American Thunderbirds pilot, received the 2018 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy during the 71st National Aeronautics Association’s Wright Brothers Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C., Dec. 14.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, who introduced Newton during the ceremony, thanked Newton for his service and his ability to break barriers in the Air Force.

“You once said flying is in your blood,” Goldfein said. “I know each person here would agree that service, passion, and inspiring others are also in your DNA. Our Air Force and our nation are better today because of your leadership and unwavering dedication to airpower.”

Newton, who flew 269 combat missions during the Vietnam War, is the first African American to receive the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. During the ceremony, he thanked Goldfein, past and current colleagues, his family and reflected on what it means to be included among the “greats” of aviation history.

“It is very clear to me that the Wright Brothers started something that was bigger than themselves and probably what they could have ever imagined,” said Newton. “I would say that through aviation, the Wright Brothers helped start the first internet. What I mean by that, is that it was another way to connect people together all over the world in a much faster speed of time. It was on that day in 1903, Dec. 17, when the magic really happened and the whole world stopped, just to understand what they were doing, and it’s still with us today. The question I ask myself is, ‘How did a lad from the cotton fields of Richmond, South Carolina, find himself standing here on this stage and receiving a trophy like this?’ I pause and think about that, and the only answer that comes to my mind is that, ladies and gentlemen, only in America.”

The Wright Brothers are known for their public service as well as breaking barriers and being major pioneers in aviation history. According to an NAA press release, the trophy was created in 1948 and is presented annually to a “living American who has contributed significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#ICYM what's happening #AroundtheAirForce: Space Flag 19-1, #AirForce Pitch Day, and Alaska @AirNatlGuard rescue mi… https://t.co/XMD9Ex058l
An #AirForce B-2 Spirit bomber takes off from @JointBasePHH, Jan. 14, 2019. Bomber aircraft regularly rotate throug… https://t.co/VFh0VRJLN4
Calling all #Airmen! The #AirForce seeks game changing innovations through the inaugural Vice Chief of Staff Challe… https://t.co/jLBsAs5pvA
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Today I had the chance to sit at the controls of our next training jet & meet with the dedicated team building the T-X…
Airfield management #Airmen are on the flight line every day upkeeping all runways, taxiways, aprons and infields t… https://t.co/hldtrFFmie
CORRECTION: Col. Joe Jackson, a USAF Medal of Honor recipient, passed away Saturday. Jackson's amazing story includ… https://t.co/3QRZdCoywd
RT @AirmanMagazine: The @usairforce is accelerating the acquisitions process, getting new capabilities into our warfighters' hands faster.…
Aerial porter #Airmen use Tunner 60K Loaders to ensure these mission essential necessities make it to their final d… https://t.co/JJQGKp3DE2
Defenders who have donned the blue beret understand what is asked of them. Specifically, the training they must com… https://t.co/roTOT3Erkq
#NorthCarolina @AirNatlGuard #Airmen install and validate satellite communications during Operation Deep Freeze in… https://t.co/4qp1QGx4Kg
.@ScottAFB recently finished the first phase, transitioning to Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services. “We’re driving the… https://t.co/oXS86OsyFX
The aftermath of #HurricaneMichael is still being felt @TeamTyndall, but the recovery would be impossible without t… https://t.co/tzrinNBan4
As the sole blood transshipment center in @CENTCOM, this center @grandslamwing wouldn't be able to operate without… https://t.co/UB0B9hSJci
RT @SecAFOfficial: Saddened by the loss of Medal of Honor recipient Col. Joe Jackson, his amazing story of humility, courage & airmanship w…
Col. Joe Jackson, a USAF Medal of Honor recipient, passed away Sunday. Jackson's amazing story includes flying a C-… https://t.co/3TGm2nsO2k
Beneath the skies #Maintenance #Airmen are dedicated to the same mission: making sure the aircraft & everything on… https://t.co/xmHDH2OeTk
The new Innovation Office at the #AirForce's Installation and Mission Support Center has three main goals: foster g… https://t.co/NWpRpbSciO
Bombers and #Airmen deployed from @Whiteman_AFB integrated their capabilities with regional partners @JointBasePHHhttps://t.co/e7DrFVW62x