O. S. Ozzie Williams

aeronautical engineer
Born: 1921

After earning a B.S. and an M.S. in aeronautical engineering, O. S. “Ozzie” Williams became the first African American hired by Republic Aviation, where he served as senior aerodynamicist. He later joined Greer Hydraulics, Inc., where as a group project engineer from 1956 to 1962, he headed the development of a radar beacon that enabled searchers to find downed aircraft. Williams's most important work came when he worked for Grumman International, where he oversaw the development and production of guidance systems for lunar modules for NASA's Apollo space program. Eventually becoming a vice president in charge of trade and industrial relations with emerging African nations, Williams traveled to West Africa in 1973 and helped establish Grumman's African headquarters.