“You can't let mistakes and setbacks keep you down. Learn from them and continue moving forward.”#Congratulations to 2nd Lt. Kayla Freeman, the Alabama Army National Guard’s first black female pilot. @TuskegeeUniv @USNationalGuard https://t.co/AilJ8xaLPb— AL National Guard (@AlabamaNG) July 21, 2018
According to the U.S. Army website,
Freeman, whose June 21 graduation made her the first black female pilot in the Alabama National Guard, said she "didn't think about making history when I started this journey. I just wanted to do the best that I could do and hopefully inspire a few people along the way."
To add to the occasion, Freeman had her wings pinned by a "longtime hero and fellow history-maker", retired Col. Christine "Nickey" Knighton.
Knighton is the first U.S. Army woman to command a tactical combat arms battalion and the second black female pilot in the Department of Defense.
"Col. Knighton has been an inspiration to me since college," Freeman said. "I felt that it was only right to have her pin me."
In Freeman's civilian career, she's an aerospace engineer at United States Army Aviation Development Test Activity at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.