Commentary

July 26, 2012

Acceptance…do you have what it takes?

Commentary by Master Sgt. Kelly Ogden
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs

No one person is alike. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders and have different views on religious, political and sexual preferences, and they are judged unnecessarily because of it. You may not agree with someone’s preferences, but the thing is that you don’t have to agree. You do, however, have to be professional, courteous and inherently aware of how you might come across others.

I was once in a meeting some time ago where a hot button topic referring to diversity was being discussed. People had all sorts of reactions; shoving their papers, grunting and flat out disagreeing (loudly), while some just sat in silence because they were afraid to speak up. They didn’t want to be “different.” What an unbelievable word, D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T. Newsflash, we are all different. No one human being is the same and this should be celebrated because it’s nothing to be afraid of.

In this situation, the troubling thing was that none of these Airmen (including me) realized that the very issue they were bickering about was causing one of their fellow wingmen in the room to suffer in silence. The very people he trusted had become the enemy. He felt alone, depressed and unsure if anyone would have his back if he spoke up. The foolish thing was I just sat there listening, not thinking that this issue and the way it was handled was going to affect anyone in the room in a negative way. I was so unbelievably wrong. The Airman approached me after the meeting, visibly upset and looking for reassurance on how to make things right. He didn’t want one of his fellow wingmen to ever feel what he felt that day. How unbelievably brave. This Airman was willing to stand up in the face of diversity and speak up. His speaking up educated the masses and will definitely help Airmen down the line. If that’s not a leader, I don’t know what is. It was a moment that has literally shaken me and has given me the “gut-check” I obviously deserved. I must add that no one in the room that day intentionally meant to offend anyone, but it’s no excuse because we obviously did.

Somehow it’s been imbedded into our minds that those who are “different” must convince “us” that they are valuable team members. I find this mentality to be unprofessional and disruptive to good order, discipline and morale. The problem is that we often ask ourselves, “how will this affect me?” versus, “how does being ‘different’ affect my wingman?” Our beloved Air Force was built on diversity and it detracts from the mission when non-acceptance takes center stage. I’ve heard people say they cannot control their reactions in response to something they do not agree with. However, I challenge this statement. You may not be able to control your thinking, but you can definitely control your outward behavior. The military forces us to exercise military bearing every single day and as Airmen, we should own it. The main point I took from this particular situation is educating yourself about diversity will bring about change. We begin changing the day we’re born. So, do you want to be the individual who halts progress or do you want to be the Airman who propels it into the future? Accept your wingman for what they bring to the mission. Nothing else really matters.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

Safeguarding ground troops from above

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Roaring his way down the runway in a 43 thousand pound machine, Maj. Vincent Sherer pilots an A-10 Thunderbolt II into the skies of Afghanistan to provide overwatch and close air support f...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sivan Veazie)

D-M hosts worldwide A-10 competition

The 355th Fighter Wing hosted 14 A-10 teams from around the world for Hawgsmoke, July 9-12, 2014. Hawgsmoke is a biennial worldwide A-10 bombing, missile and tactical gunnery competition, which was derived from the discontinued...
 
 

Heritage Flight 2015

Air Combat Command held the Heritage Flight Training Course at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Feb. 27 – March 1. The annual aerial demonstration training event has been held at D-M since 2001, providing civilian and military pilots the opportunity to practice flying in formation for the upcoming air show season. Established in 1997, the HFTCC...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

Navy unit trains with D-M

Sailors from Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, Calif. conducted joint training with A-10C Thunderbolt II squadrons and Combat Search and Rescue units here Nov. 3-15, 2014. Five MH-60S Knighthawks from the Helicopter Se...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

WWII pilot reunited with P-47

Sitting in a wheelchair with images of airplanes on his shirt and a U.S. Army Air Corps hat on his head, 92-year-old retired Air National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Hertel was reunited with the P-47 Thunderbolt during...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier)

D-M PJs rapidly respond during Open House

Six pararescuemen assigned to the 48th Rescue Squadron were first responders at a scene during D-M’s Thunder and Lightning over Arizona Open House, April 12, 2014. During the event, an individual suddenly had a heart attack a...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin