Tuskegee Airman Howard Adolphus Wooten was born on April 20, 1920, in Lovelady, Texas to parents Johnnie C. Morris Wooten and Howard L. Wooten. His father was the principal of the “colored school” in Lovelady, a town 100 miles north of Houston, and his mother also was a teacher there.
As a young man, Wooten enrolled in college at Prairie View on a football scholarship. But his main interest was to follow his dreams in aviation. He attempted to enroll in flight school but his father rejected the idea, he feared that airplanes were not safe. Wooten’s father wanted him to get a good education and finish college. But, Wooten dropped out of college to pursue his dream in flying. By this time he was 24 and longer needed his parents’ permission to enroll in a flight training program. So, he applied to the Army Flight School at Tuskegee, Alabama in 1944. He successfully completed the training and graduated in December of that year. After graduation, he was assigned to the 15th USAAF Brigade as a fighter pilot, in the 332nd Fighter Group.
In January 1945, Wooten was reassigned to the 477th Bombardment Group, where he was one of a select group of Tuskegee pilots who would train to fly North American B-25 Mitchell bombers. However, Wooten nor other bombers got a chance to go to combat because the war ended before they were set to go overseas.
After the Army, Wooten moved to Seattle, Washington, he felt the opportunities for blacks were better than living in the deep south. He married, and found working painting bridges around Seattle. Wooten died in 1948 at the age of 28, after falling 70 feet from a scaffold while painting the 12th Avenue Bridge at the base of Beacon Hill.