332nd AIR EXPEDITIONARY WING --
The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing hosted a virtual dialogue between its Airmen and the ranking member of the U.S. Air Force, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., the chief of staff.
The event is part of an ongoing effort to further enculturate both diversity and inclusion into the wing said Capt. Andre Jordan, the chairman of the Diversity and Inclusion Council.
“This is a milestone event for the wing simply because of the intentionality and the purpose-driven effort that this wing takes in making sure that diversity, equity and inclusion are part of the fabric of our experience here,” he said. “This event is just another aspect of that continual effort.”
The chief of staff expanded on that explaining his philosophy as he moves through his tenure, especially with regard to diversity and inclusion.
“Here’s where we have work to do,” said Brown. “We have to work as leaders to create and foster an environment in our units where all Airmen can reach their full potential, we can do better and we will.”
He says the Air Force is at a cross roads, one where we must adapt to changing realities or suffer the consequences.
“When I wrote ‘accelerate change or lose’ I focused on the ‘why’, why we needed to change and the risk of what we were going to lose—and that included losing quality Airmen.”
He laid out three things every Airman can do to help make our people feel included and valued: the courage to speak up, consideration for others and character to have difficult conversations.
He said it takes courage to speak up when you see something that needs addressing, “I think for all of us it’s hard to speak up, you get a knot in your stomach, but once you say it you feel so much better.” He said “When you say it, it makes a difference.”
“The honesty and transparency of the CSAF's answers were both refreshing and motivating,” said Jordan.
One candid moment in Brown’s remarks stem from his early days as a fighter pilot and the requirement to qualify on the .38 “six-shooter” and the 9mm handgun.
“It took me three times to qualify, and I got pulled in by my operations officer to find out if I was having any personal problems or any issues,” he said and explained that firing a weapon was not something he was done much of, until he joined the Air Force. It took a number of years before he realized that he is cross-dominant—right-handed but left-eye dominant.
“It was a really stressful event for me, because I was barely getting past it, until I figured it out,” he added.
He used that story to point out that despite rising to the highest rank in the service, his career wasn’t without setbacks.
“We all have setbacks, but I think the sign of complete failure is when you quit trying,” he said.
After the event Jordan reflected on the chief of staff’s remarks and noted that we all have a part to play, “It underscores the importance of what we do here and the impact it will have for the future of our Air Force.”