The Navy's Black Admirals
    NASA's Black Astronauts
Blacks in Aviation    Speaker & Exhibit Series


Key Topics

Lecture Topics

Blacks in Aviation

Important personal character traits such as, perseverance, self-discipline, courage, confidence, and hard work are discussed in this presentation.

The lecture and exhibit are supported by a 30-minute video, presenting an overview of African American participation in aviation. It also includes a chronological review of pioneering females in aviation featuring Bessie Coleman, the 1920's era barnstormer, Matice Wright, a military aviator, and Dr. Mae Jemison, a NASA Space Shuttle mission specialist.

Veteran aviators such as Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the Korean War hero, Commander Jim Jackson, an aircraft navigator in the 1980s, Captain Donnie Cochran, Commanding Officer of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team, and General Charlie Bolden, NASA Space Shuttle pilot, emphasize the merits of studying math and science to prepare for a career in aviation.

Donnie Cochran
Born 1954

Pelham, GA

Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret), Navy Fighter Pilot

Captain Cochran has accumulated more than 3,300 flight hours and 469 Carrier landings. He reported to the “Blue Angels” in September 1985, and flew in the left wing position for the 1986 and 1987 seasons. In 1995, he was selected to serve as the Commanding Officer of The Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team.

Key Topics:

Captain Cochran was raised in Pelham, Georgia where he attended Pelham High School. Upon graduation, he attended Savannah State College. In 1976, he received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program and graduated with a bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.

After completing basic and advanced jet training in Kingsville, Texas he was designated a Naval Aviator in 1978 and assigned to Light Photographic Squadron 63 (VFP-63) for training in the RF-8G Crusader aircraft. He deployed with the squadron to the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean on board the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68).

In December 1980, he reported to Fighter Squadron 124 (VF-124) for transition training in the F-14A Tomcat. Afterwards, he was assigned to the “Black Lions” of Fighter Squadron 213 (VF-213) where he completed two deployments to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean aboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65). In February 1985, he reported back VF-124 as an instructor pilot.

Lecture Topics:

• Rear Admiral Ben Hacker; Golden Wings and Golden Dreams.
• Captain Donnie Cochran; Commanding Officer of The Blue Angels


The Navy's Black Admirals     NASA's Black Astronauts      Blacks in Aviation 


Commander Jim Jackson U.S. Navy (Ret.) 1103 Riverboat Ct., Annapolis, MD 21409 410.279.5853