Saturday, November 22, 2014
Louis Freeman- 1st A.A. Chief Pilot of a major United States airline
Louis Freeman is a commercial airline pilot. In 1980 Freeman became Southwest Airlines' 1st black pilot, and, in 1992 he became the 1st black chief pilot of a major United States airline. Freeman attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas. In 1967 Freeman and his brother, along with 8 others, were the 1st African American students to integrate the school. They were also the 1st African American assistant drum majors for the Wilson High School. Freeman became the 1st African American Cadet Corps Commander at the school's ROTC, prior to graduating in 1970. He enrolled at the East Texas State University, becoming the 1st African American ROTC cadet corps commander. Freeman first attempted the Air Force Officers' Qualifying Test (AFOQT) in his Freshman year at East Texas. Though he failed the pilot aptitude section of the test, he passed the AFOQT in his subsequent attempt, the following year. In 1974, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology. Freeman was the 1st African American trainee to attend the United States Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training program at Reese Air Force Base outside of Lubbock, Texas. After completing his training, Freeman was assigned to the 454th Flying Training Squadron at Mather Air Force Base in California. While at the 454th he flew the T-43's, and was one of the 1st Lieutenants to become a flight instructor and supervisor of flying. He remained at the Mather Air Force Base until 1980, before resigning his commission and moving to Commercial Aviation.