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.


 
 

 

Local Briefs July 2, 2015

Sunset Horseback Ride August 8, 4 – 8 p.m. – Outdoor Rec Saddle up and enjoy a 2-hour sunset horseback ride through the Saguaro National Park. Single Airmen can sign-up beginning July 6. All others may sign-up beginning July 13. Final deadline is July 31. Minimum age: 18. Cost of $25/person. Call 228-3736 for more...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photos by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

F-15E Strike Eagle students complete training at D-M

Student pilots from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., have been training here since June 17. Fourteen F-15E Strike Eagles from the 334th Fighter Squadron, as well as pilots and Weapons Systems Officers came to D-M to com...
 
 

D-M’s Fourth of July Celebration

For July 4, D-M is scheduled to hold a few evening events to celebrate the holiday. Shuttles for the fireworks are scheduled to start running at 5:30 p.m. from Heritage Park, the Sonoran Science Academy and Borman Elementary School. Pre-firework events are slated to begin at 6 p.m. at Bama Park featuring live music by...
 

 

Giving life through the Living Donor Program

  As Airmen, it is our responsibility to help each other, as well as our civilian counterparts from day to day. But what if the need was greater than something as simple as a ride to work? What if it was as great as a kidney donation? Located in Sacramento, Calif., The University of California...
 
 

Balancing career, family through career intermission program

  KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) — Being in the U.S. military can be a tough balance between career and family. For some, it comes down to a choice between the two; however, for Katie Evans, a temporarily separated captain and the former 18th Force Support Squadron manpower and personnel flight commander here, it’s about...
 
 

One AWACS lands at D-M for Boneyard Storage

One NATO E-3A AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) departed NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany and landed around 1 p.m. June 23, for storage in the ‘Boneyard’. This is the first ever NATO AWACS to be retired. The decision to retire one E-3A was made by the North Atlantic Council in an effort to modernize the...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>