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Air Force Chief of Staff lays out way forward for deployed Airmen at 332nd AEW

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. joins deployed Airmen at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing during a virtual question and answer session, April 14, 2021. The event was organized by the wing diversity and inclusion council and provided Airmen the opportunity to ask questions of top-level Air Force leadership.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. joins deployed Airmen at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing during a virtual question and answer session, April 14, 2021. The event was organized by the wing diversity and inclusion council and provided Airmen the opportunity to ask questions of top-level Air Force leadership. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., joins deployed Airmen at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing during a virtual question and answer session, April 14, 2021. The event was organized by the wing diversity and inclusion council and provided Airmen the opportunity to ask questions of top-level Air Force leadership.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., joins deployed Airmen at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing during a virtual question and answer session, April 14, 2021. The event was organized by the wing diversity and inclusion council and provided Airmen the opportunity to ask questions of top-level Air Force leadership. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

332nd AIR EXPEDITIONARY WING (AFNS) --

The 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing hosted a virtual dialogue between its Airmen and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

“The event is part of an ongoing effort to further enculturate diversity and inclusion into the wing,” said Capt. Andre Jordan, Diversity and Inclusion Council chairman.

“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.”

Brown expanded on his statement by explaining his philosophy as he moves through his tenure, especially with regard to diversity and inclusion.

“Here’s where we have work to do,” Brown said. “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 said the Air Force is at a crossroads, one where it 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,” Brown said.

He laid out three things every Airman can do to help make people feel included and valued: the courage to speak up, consideration for others and character to have difficult conversations.

Brown said it takes courage to speak up when something 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. When you say it, it makes a difference.”

“The honesty and transparency of the CSAF's answers were both refreshing and motivating,” Jordan said.

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. Brown explained firing a weapon was not something he had done much of until he joined the Air Force. It took a number of years before he realized 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 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 Brown’s remarks and noted everybody has 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.”

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