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Air Education and Training Command leaders are diligently working to remove barriers, promote mutual respect, and encourage tough conversations in safe spaces.

The First Command is leading efforts to strengthen diversity through deliberate actions to raise awareness about opportunities; developing partnerships with underrepresented groups; removing barriers to serve and providing mentorship to our current force.

 Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-7001, Diversity & Inclusion, broadly defines diversity as “a composite of individual characteristics, experiences, and abilities consistent with the Air Force Core Values and the Air Force Mission. Air Force diversity includes, but is not limited to: personal life experiences, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural knowledge, educational background, work experience, language abilities, physical abilities, philosophical and spiritual perspectives, age, race, ethnicity, and gender.” The Air Force increases its warfighting capabilities and lethality by attracting talent from a diverse body of applicants and leveraging their unique characteristics, experiences, and abilities.


Learn more about the U.S. Air Force Rated Diversity Improvement Strategy here. 

Learn more about the Department of the Air Force Barrier Analysis Working Groups (DAFBAWG) here. 


Inspired to Inspire

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Adrian Salazar
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M.-- Every Airman has their personal ‘why’ for joining the U.S. Air Force. Their reasons for joining may differ but the ultimate decision to serve offers a universal connection that can be recognized across many generations of servicemembers.

For Capt. Andre Golson, 8th Fighter Squadron instructor pilot, his dream to become a pilot started at a young age.

“I joined the Air Force to fly fighter jets,” he said. “I grew up not too far from Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, and my parents would take me to the air show every year, where my passion for aviation grew into an obsession,” he said.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. It can come from family heritage, a newfound passion or an impactful event in a person’s life. Master Sgt. Talmadge Bates, 849th Aircraft Maintenance squadron production superintendent, drew inspiration from a desire to work with his hands.

“I’ve always wanted to work with my hands,” he said. “My dad guided me towards the Air Force and told me about the opportunity to work on aircraft. Now here I am 16 years later, and I’m glad I get the opportunity to share my experience with future aircrew.”

Golson and Bates’ stories, like that of every other Airman, are now part of the legacy of the U.S. Air Force. They used their experience to inspire future aviators and aircrew at this year’s Accelerating the Legacy event at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, Feb.18-19.

The event honored the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and gave current aviators and aircrew an opportunity to inspire students from the local area who may become future aviators and aircrew.

Dr. Eugene Richardson, Jr., a Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen from World War II, attended the event and spoke to the aircrew about his experience to highlight the important legacy of aviation.

Golson recalled his experience speaking to Dr. Richardson, Jr. as a “surreal experience.”

“He is a true hero. He spoke to us about his experiences towards the end of World War II and his story of becoming a Tuskegee Airman. He knows his impact on today’s Airmen but continues to exude humbleness, and practice patience as we asked him to tell story after story. I am grateful of the opportunity to talk to him,” Golson said.

For Bates, a student’s knowledge of various F-16 Viper components left a lasting impression that will stay with him for the remainder of his career.

“There was a student I spoke to that was actually naming off the parts of the F-16, I did my best to develop his knowledge further by explaining in more detail what role each part plays,” said Bates. “Overall, there was a lot of interest in aviation and not just the pilot side of it, and I was glad to guide them towards their goals and speak to them about my experience in military aviation.”

Accelerating the Legacy aimed to preserve the culture of past aviators and aircrew and inspire Airmen of the present and future, themes that were not lost on Golson and Bates.

“These events are important to honor legacies, reinforce culture in our current Airmen, and spark the excitement of our future aviators,” said Golson. “We cannot forget the incredible sacrifices of those who’ve come before us, and we can’t neglect our responsibility to mentor and develop those who will serve after us.”

Golson and Bates’ efforts may serve as a catalyst for future pilots to grow their obsession for aviation or for a hands-on student to become a future maintainer in the world’s greatest Air Force.

“I want to thank our leadership for giving us the opportunity to attend this event,” said Bates. “I spoke to my junior enlisted members who attended and they expressed how grateful they were to see their culture represented so widely across the Air Force, and I believe they have become stronger Airmen for the future of the U.S. Air Force as a result.”

Videos are currently unavailable, please check back later.
58 SOW Diversity and Inclusion
377th Air Base Wing
Video by Senior Airman Ireland Summers
Jan. 5, 2022 | 2:32
U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Curry, 58th Special Operations Wing commander, speaks about diversity and inclusion at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Jan. 5, 2022. More