First Female African American Chief Master Sergeant 188th Fighter Wing

Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) Alwina “Collette” Freeman:

CMSgt Freeman was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Arkansas Tech University, Russellville; and later received Master Degrees in Human Resource Management and Special Education from Webster University.

Her military career started on March 7, 1983, when she enlisted into the 188th Fighter Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard, Fort Smith, Arkansas. She was assigned to the Public Affairs Office as an Administrative Clerk. She later entered the United States Air Force on August 27, 1984, and was assigned to the 27th Headquarters Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. While assigned to the 27th Headquarters Squadron, CMSgt Freeman duties included Accounting and Finance Administrative Support Clerk, Aircraft Generation Squadron Orderly Room Personnel Clerk and Noncommissioned Officer-In Charge (NCOIC) Transportation Orderly Room.

CMSgt Freeman was reassigned to Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal in March 1990. While at Lajes Field, she served in several positions including INTRO Manager for the Air Force Base, NCOIC for the Security Police Orderly Room and NCOIC for Classification and Training. In January 1993, she returned to the United States and assigned to Frances E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming and was assigned as the NCOIC of the Operations Orderly Room. In October 1994, CMSgt Freeman completed her tour with the U.S. Air Force and returned to the 188th Fighter Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard in Fort Smith.

Her first assignment upon return to the 188th Fighter Wing was Accounting and Finance Clerk. Later she transferred to the Military Personnel Flight and served in the Customer Service Section. In August 1998, CMSgt Freeman was hired into the Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) Program as the Education and Training Manager for the 188th Mission Support Flight. She served in that capacity until March 1999, when she became Chief of Personnel Employments for the 188th Fighter Wing. On September 11, 2004, CMSgt Freeman was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) and became the first African American Female in the history of the 188th Fighter Wing promoted to Chief Master Sergeant.

During her military career, CMSgt Freeman attended several military schools to including the U.S. Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Academy and the U.S. Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy. In 1999, CMSgt Freeman was named the 188th Fighter Wing’s Outstanding Active Guard/Reserve Employee of the Year and the Arkansas Air National Guard’s Active Guard/Reserve Employee of the Year. CMSgt Freeman retired from the 188th Fighter Wing on March 31, 2012, with nearly 30 years of distinguished military service.

After retiring from the military, CMSgt Freeman taught in various schools in the Fort Smith community, however, she found her teaching home at Tilles Elementary School. CMSgt Freeman loved spending time with her family and teaching children. Sadly, she passed away in April 2023 surrounded by her family members.