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.