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News > Laughlin Airman explains Pride: Staff Sgt. Wittman-Havens
Laughlin Airman explains Pride

Posted 6/13/2014   Updated 6/19/2014 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Steven R. Doty
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs


6/13/2014 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- All across the Department of Defense, lesbian, gay and bisexual service members, LGBT civilians and their families, are being recognized for their significant contributions and sacrifice to the military community.

Laughlin seeks to recognize those individuals who bravely serve and encourage all members to be proud of the person they are while in uniform.

Laughlin Airman Staff Sgt. Robert Wittman-Havens, 47th Medical Operations Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineering office NCO in charge of special surveillance, explains what Pride means to him.

Staff Sgt. Robert Wittman-Havens, 47th Medical Operations Squadron .

Wittman-Havens primary responsibility is to monitor industrial hygiene by scheduling special surveys, like air sampling, to ensure Laughlin workers and families are not exposed to hazards in the environment. He also ensures environmental compliance by taking water samples from various sources.

"It wasn't until after the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' that I had the courage to truly accept the real me," said Wittman-Havens. "I can now be the best me I can, because I no longer fear all of the misconceptions I had grown up believing."

Pride is an important attribute in any Airman and pride can have a variety of connotations for each individual.

"Pride should be a constant empowerment for all people, no matter their background, to be gratified of who they are," said Wittman-Havens. "Pride means taking the time to reflect on the wrongs that can be made right; to make every effort to ensure that our future isn't plagued with the bigotry of our past. Pride should be a time of reflection, education and celebrating who you are and knowing how you got there."

Diversity is a fundamental trait of American culture and has been an intricate part of making the DOD an example for society. The DOD and Laughlin will continue to support and recognize the accomplishments and contributions of its entire workforce as a way to celebrate the significance of diversity.

"Our society has made leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, and it is phenomenal to know that I can now be able to say that 'I am a gay man serving my country in the United States Air Force' and not fear repercussions," said Wittman-Havens. "We, as a community, should make every effort to educate those who still have a negative perception, that we are all created equal. That everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect."

If you are interested in being featured and telling your story, please contact the 47th FTW Public Affairs Office, 47FTWPA.Tasker@us.af.mil, or Wittman-Havens, robert.wittman_havens@us.af.mil.



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