“First Indian pilots reunite, reminisce after 40 years.”

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FOX0005. Fox, Geoff. “First Indian pilots reunite, reminisce after 40 years.” Robesonian Monday, 14 May 2001.


Describes a reunion between Tom Oxendine and Fannie Belle Locklear (maiden name: Hunt), the only two survivors of a class of eight Lumbee who, sixty years ago, took a federally funded Civilian Pilot Training Course. The three-month course, whose members were chosen for academic performance and passing a physical, was taught by pilot Horace Barnes and was intended to prepare Native American pilots for Navy service in the impending World War II. 

As a result of the course, Tom Oxendine, in November 1942, became the first Native American commissioned as a Navy pilot. He won a Distinguished Flying Cross for his World War II service, then completed a degree at UNC-Pembroke. He served in Korea and Vietnam, commanded the Navy's largest basic flight-training program, was director of plans for the Navy Department's Office of Information in the Pentagon, and was in charge of the public affairs office of the Naval Air Systems Command. After retiring from the Navy, he worked as a consultant and marketing representative for several companies. 

Fannie Belle (Hunt) Locklear did not accept the Navy commission as pilot. She married, raised three children, and worked as a school bus driver and an educator for 38 years.

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