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Col. Christine Knighton

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Information about Col. Christine Knighton

Profile image of Col. Christine Knighton

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Colonel

Favorites

Favorite Color:
All Colors
Favorite Food:
Sweet Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.

Birthplace

Born:
11/23/1957
Birth Location:
Benevolence, Georgia

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Colonel

Favorites

Favorite Color:
All Colors
Favorite Food:
Sweet Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.

Birthplace

Born:
11/23/1957
Birth Location:
Benevolence
See how Col. Christine Knighton is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

U.S. Army Colonel Christine B. Knighton was born in Cuthbert, Georgia in 1957. After graduating from Randolph County Comprehensive High School in 1975, she attended Tuskegee Institute and graduated with military honors in 1979. Knighton’s military education includes the Aviation Officer Advanced Course, the UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter Qualification Course, the Combined Arms Staff and Services School, and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Knighton also received her M.A. degree in national security and strategy from the National War College at National Defense University.

Upon graduation from college, Knighton was commissioned a second lieutenant and served briefly in the Quartermaster Corps and the Transportation Officer’s Corps. In 1980, she became the second African American woman in the U.S. Department of Defense and the first woman from the State of Georgia to complete aviation training. Knighton then reported to the U.S. Army V Corps in West Germany where her assignments included that of flight section leader of the 205th Transportation Battalion; platoon leader of the 62nd Aviation Company; and logistics officer of the 11th Aviation Battalion. In 1988, she assumed command of Delta Company, the 227th Aviation Regiment – 1st Cavalry’s Combat Aviation Company, and then served a tour of duty at Camp Stanley in Uijeongbu, South Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division as the Aviation Brigade logistics officer.

Knighton reported to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1990 and was assigned as an aviation logistician for the Combat Structure for the Army Study Group. She then was deployed to Operation Desert Storm with the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) to assess aviation units positioned in Saudi, Kuwait and Iraq. In 1993, Knighton was appointed as commander of Hotel Company in the 159th Aviation Regiment (AVIM) and deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia in support of the United Nations “Operation Continue Hope.” Knighton became the first woman in the U.S. Army to command a tactical combat arms battalion on November 3, 1996 when she was assigned as commander of a Blackhawk Helicopter Battalion in the 1st Cavalry Division and deployed to Tulza, Bosnia-Herzegovina to conduct aviation operations.

Knighton is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Tuskegee Airmen Association, and served as vice president of the Bessie Coleman Foundation. Knighton was nationally recognized by Glamour Magazinein 1989 as one of its “Top 10 Outstanding Working Women in the United States” and appeared on the cover of USA Today. In 1999, Knighton’s Blackhawk Helicopter Battalion was named U.S. Army Aviation Unit of the Year. Her military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, and the Army’s Senior Aviator Badge. Knighton is also authorized to wear the Office of the Secretary of Defense Staff Badge, and received the Order of Saint Michael which recognized outstanding contributions to U.S. Army Aviation.

U.S. Army Colonel Christine B. Knighton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers in July 26, 2013.

See how Col. Christine Knighton is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Christine Knighton's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Christine Knighton lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Christine Knighton describes her mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Christine Knighton describes the town of Benevolence, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Christine Knighton describes her mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Christine Knighton describes her mother's growing up in Benevolence, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Christine Knighton describes her father's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Christine Knighton describes her father's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Christine Knighton describes her father's growing up in Georgia, his migration to Philadelphia, and his towing business in New Jersey
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Christine Knighton describes how her parents met, and talks about their relationship
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Christine Knighton describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Christine Knighton describes her father's personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Christine Knighton talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Christine Knighton describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Christine Knighton talks about her maternal grandfather going from sharecropper to landowner in Benevolence, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Christine Knighton talks about the first home that her maternal family bought and the lack of amenities in the South during the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Christine Knighton talks about President John F. Kennedy's assassination a few days before her own and Caroline Kennedy's sixth birthday
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Christine Knighton talks about her maternal grandparents' home in Benevolence, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Christine Knighton describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Benevolence, Georgia, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Christine Knighton describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Benevolence, Georgia, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Christine Knighton talks about starting school in Stewart County, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Christine Knighton describes her experience in elementary school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Christine Knighton talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Christine Knighton talks about her family's first television set, and riding the bus to elementary school in Lupton, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Christine Knighton talks about visiting her father in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Christine Knighton recalls Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Christine Knighton talks about her experience in middle school in Cuthbert, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Christine Knighton talks about state-funded colleges in Georgia while she was growing up, and attending college in Tuskegee, Alabama
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Christine Knighton talks about her experience in high school in Cuthbert, Georgia, and her interest in home economics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Christine Knighton talks about the Knighton family's talent for basketball
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Christine Knighton talks about her performance in high school and her decision to attend Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Christine Knighton talks about being accepted to Tuskegee Institute, and her first visit to the campus with her family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Christine Knighton talks about the integration of schools in the seventh grade in Cuthbert, Georgia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Christine Knighton talks about her experience at Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Christine Knighton describes her decision to join the Army ROTC at Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Christine Knighton talks about Lionel Ritchie's relationship with Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Christine Knighton talks about her experience in classes at Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Christine Knighton describes her experience in the Army ROTC at Tuskegee Institute, and her training for the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Christine Knighton describes her desire to go to flight school in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Christine Knighton talks about her branch transfer to the U.S. Army Transportation Corps
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Christine Knighton talks about flying helicopters, and doing Ground School Training with Chief Alfred C. Anderson
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Christine Knighton talks about flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Christine Knighton describes her experience at primary flight training
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Christine Knighton describes her experience as an African American woman in advanced flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Christine Knighton talks about the Bell Huey helicopter and her experience flying them
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Christine Knighton talks about graduating from flight school and attending the Tuskegee Airmen Convention in Atlanta in 1980
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Christine Knighton talks about her assignment to the Fifth Corps at Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau, Germany
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Christine Knighton talks about her colleague Marcella Ng's career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Christine Knighton talks about her reassignment to the 11th Aviation Battalion and her promotion to the ranks of first lieutenant and captain
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Christine Knighton talks about her assignment as the Battalion S4 in the 11th Aviation Battalion
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Christine Knighton describes her experience in the 1st Cavalry at Fort Hood, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Christine Knighton describes her experience as an Aviation Brigade Logistics Officer with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Christine Knighton talks about her tour in Korea in 1988
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Christine Knighton talks about her service during the Gulf War
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Christine Knighton talks about the challenges posed by a desert environment during the Gulf War
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Christine Knighton talks about women serving in the U.S. Army during the Gulf War
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Christine Knighton talks about the living conditions for military service members during the Gulf War
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Christine Knighton talks about Scud missiles used by the Iraqis during the Gulf War, and their eventual surrender
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Christine Knighton talks about women serving in combat missions and the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Christine Knighton talks about her service with the 101st Airborne Division
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Christine Knighton talks about her assignment as Company Commander of Hotel Company, 159th Aviation Regiment in Somalia
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Christine Knighton talks about her service at the Army Personnel Command as the assignments officer for Aviation majors and lieutenant colonels
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Christine Knighton talks about getting married and starting a family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Christine Knighton talks about becoming the first woman in the history of the U.S. Army to command a tactical combat arms battalion
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Christine Knighton talks about the 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation being selected as the Army's Aviation Unit of the Year
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Christine Knighton talks about her service as Assistant Director of Officer and Enlisted Personnel Management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Christine Knighton talks about attending the Army War College
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Christine Knighton talks about becoming a full colonel and her experience in the Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Christine Knighton recalls her experience at the Pentagon during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Christine Knighton recalls her experience at the Pentagon during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Christine Knighton reflects upon lessons learned from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Christine Knighton talks about the Army Married Couples Program, and her assignment to Fort Jackson, South Carolina
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Christine Knighton talks about the changes in policy that allowed women to serve in Ground Combat
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Christine Knighton talks about her service as Chief Learning Officer for the Army Officer Corps
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Christine Knighton talks about retiring from the U.S. Army and attending a Superintendents Training Program
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Christine Knighton describes her service as Chief of Human Resources for Prince George's County Public Schools
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Christine Knighton talks about her experience in leadership coaching and executive coaching
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Christine Knighton describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Christine Knighton reflects upon her life and career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Christine Knighton reflects upon the large percentage of African American women joining the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Christine Knighton reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Christine Knighton talks about her family and about balancing her family needs with that of her career
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Christine Knighton discusses her concerns about the legacy of African American women in aviation
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Christine Knighton shares how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Christine Knighton describes her photographs