By Master Sgt. Chance Babin, Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs
/ Published March 25, 2020
Capt. Mike Billups, 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron pilot, Offutt AFB, Nebraska, talks with an Air Force ROTC student during an Aviation Recruiting Team training session Feb. 3, 2020 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. The new Total Force Recruiting program is specifically deigned to help reach the goals of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s Rated Diversity Improvement Initiative. Billups is one of 300 rated officers that applied to be on the ART which is lead by Air Force Recruiting Service’s Detachment 1. Air Force Recruiting Service's Inspire Operations Team, part of Detachment 1, recently won the Air Education and Training Command 2020 Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Award.(U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Chance Babin)
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Air Force Recruiting Service’ Inspire Operations Team, part of Detachment 1, was awarded the Air Education and Training Command’s 2020 Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Award. Next, they compete at the Air Force level.
“I’m incredibly proud of the efforts this team put forth in the past year towards promoting diversity in the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Cathyrine Armandie, AFRS Det. 1 commander. “This award recognizes the team’s innovative and forward thinking. To be able to scale our efforts and see the impact we are making validates the hard work of the detachment and the objectives we set forth to achieve. We want to continue the work other individuals and agencies have accomplished in order to bring greater change and build upon their foundation.”
AFRS Det. 1 was established in October 2018 to conceive and implement innovative programs for Total Force (Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard) recruiting efforts. They focus on pre-accession audiences (youths, young adults and their influencers) and work with partners to provide pathways to accession sources such as the Air Force Academy, ROTC and Officer Training School.
AFRS Det. 1 is also the tactical execution arm of the chief of staff of the Air Force’s Rated Diversity Improvement initiative.
“The Diversity and Inclusion Award recognizes those that greatly contributed to or developed an innovative idea, concept, or approach that helped to create a diverse and inclusive environment,” said Maj. Gen. Mark E. Weatherington, AETC deputy commander. “This may include individuals who started an initiative which foster diversity and inclusion, who have distinguished themselves as leaders or mentors of diversity, or Airmen and teams that are building sustainable programs that leverage diversity and foster inclusiveness.”
The Inspire Operations Team was awarded for having multiple innovative outreach projects. Two programs in particular were highlighted in the award package. They instituted the Aviation Recruiting Team, comprised of 288 Total Force rated officers, providing expertise and personal experiences for engagements across the recruiting enterprise. In a partnership with Women in Aviation they planned and coordinated for Air Force assets to be present at 17 worldwide Girls in Aviation Day events, inspiring over 6,652 young girls to pursue a career in aviation.
“The recognition for the Inspire Ops Team’s effort highlights the significance of CSAF’s Rated Diversity Improvement program to bring more underrepresented groups into the Air Force and build a more diverse pool of leaders,” Armandie said. “In the upcoming year we plan to expand our reach and increase operations to inform the public, influence propensity, and inspire the next generation of aviators. We are working with more affinity organizations such as the Latino Pilot Association, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals and the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers to reach more youth across America. We also will continue to build our social media platforms to increase access to information about our events and programs.”