A NWIndiana Life in the Spotlight: Al Lockwood

AlLockwood1Alan Lockwood comes from a long military lineage and considers his service, in comparison, insignificant to that of his father.

It was only recently, and not until after his Father’s passing in 2011, did Alan Lockwood learn what a true hero his father was. His father was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, 5 Bronze stars, a Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Occupation Medal, National Defense Medal, Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Medal, during his service in World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Wars.

“I’m saddened that he never talked about it, although the generation of he and others, it was not their call to discuss it.” said Lockwood.

“I would have loved the opportunity to talk to him about it, to thank him for his service, and tell him how proud I am of him.”

Born in Nuremburg, Germany, to an American father and Japanese mother, Alan and his family returned to the US when he was 4. Although he grew up an Army brat, it wasn’t until later in his life that he felt the call to duty.

“Early on, the sternness of my father, the military man, was more of a deterrent for me. I had no inclination to serve, especially in the Army.”

It wasn’t until the latter years of Alan’s collegiate career, and his love of aviation, that he became interested in the military. Although his uncle was a Japanese pilot, it was his mother that had the greatest influence on his decision to join the military, but only after he completed college first. It wasn’t without some hesitation that he would decide to join the ranks, after an unsuccessful attempt at ROTC.

Post graduation from Parks College of St. Louis University with a degree in Aeronautics, Alan was employed by Delta Airlines as an airline mechanic.

It was on a tour of a jet base in Atlanta, that his mother further encouraged him to consider becoming an aircraft pilot. After much research, and following his mother’s advice, he chose the path of applying to the very selective and prestigious, Officer Training School of the US Air Force (OTS).

“Those of us who have chosen to serve realize that when we sign on the dotted line, we are willing, with unequivocal doubt, that we can give ourselves in full sacrifice. We support and defend the constitution and all the freedoms that are afforded by that with the exception that we can’t exercise those freedoms ourselves.”

AlLockwood2Upon acceptance to OTS, he reported to the Lackland Air Force Base. In March 1984, he successfully completed the undergraduate program, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. His journey would then take him to Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi to begin his 48 week undergraduate pilot training program, piloting the T-37 and T-38, and completing his training there in 1985.

Following his pilot training, he was stationed at Grissom Air Force Base in 1987, for approximately 2 years followed by a term in the Pacific at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, HI.

“It was ironic that I was assigned to defend the Pacific, being stationed in Hawaii, as a Japanese-American pilot.”

His hard work, talent, and drive to succeed would soon pay off as he was assigned to 9th Airborne Command and Control Squadron (ACCS), where he and his elite, experienced flight team flew the EC-135, which supported the command and control function of the Joint Chiefs-Blue Eagle aircraft (talked to submarines with sophisticated communication devices).

In 1991, he and his family would return to Homewood, IL where he purchased and lived in his childhood home.

After his service to our country, he joined United Airlines in March 1992. In 1998, he was promoted to Captain, flying the B-737,B-727, B-747, and Airbus A-320 until his retirement in 2013. ! ! Alan credits his wife for being the role model of military wives by enduring the sacrifices of her husband’s call to duty. Most do not fully understand the sacrifices made, not only by the soldier, but that of his/her family to provide us with the safety and security in the greatest country in the world.

“The call to service, in and of itself, is a wonderful thing. It’s not for everybody. It comes from the heart. But mine, more so, was to honor my father and mother, in all ways.”

We thank you, and your father, for your dedication, service, sacrifices, and heroism to our country that allow us the liberty we so freely celebrate, not only this July 4th, but everyday!