Uncategorized

March 1, 2013

EO promotes culture of unity in war-support location

Master Sgt. Sonya Ferguson serves as the director of equal opportunity, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia. Ferguson serves the approximately 6,000 Airmen deployed and assigned to this location.

SOUTHWEST ASIA — An Air Force staffed by different races, colors, genders, religions and national origins faces the challenge of building a culture of acceptance, inclusion and cohesion. In the deployed environment, that task becomes even more important, reminding all Airmen about the importance of equal opportunity.

“Our mission is to ensure the environments which people work in are free from any form of discrimination or sexual harassment,” said Master Sgt. Sonya Ferguson, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing EO director. “Part of our job is to help people with those types of complaints.”

To accomplish that mission, Ferguson does not use the same tools she would stateside, such as the unit climate assessment. Instead, she keeps track of the nature of EO complaints over time and performs site visits around the base and tenant units to speak with Airmen directly about issues they face.

Complaints here are relatively low, Ferguson said, something she credits to leadership.

“A lot of it is the wing leadership, they do help a lot,” Ferguson said. “As soon as I got here, they actually showed they did care about the program, because I’ve heard horror stories where some people said ‘Oh, our wing commander doesn’t help, won’t do anything for us. They think EO shouldn’t even be on the base.’ And it just blows my mind that some people think like that, but I get support here.”

Ferguson praised Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III’s push to eliminate sexual harassment and assault, and the health and wellness inspection performed on base in mid-December. She was also grateful the 379th AEW commander promoted the same agenda at the subsequent commander’s call.

“It’s absolutely essential deployed Airmen who work and live together operate as a team,” said Brig. Gen. Roger Watkins, 379th AEW commander. “Maintaining a positive environment where we can operate free of sexual harassment, free of sexual assault, is critical to our ability to accomplish our combat mission.”

The positive experiences of Ferguson’s two months on base and her full-time position back home at Nellis AFB, Nev., has led her to consider remaining in EO. For those looking to change jobs and move into EO, she said it’s a wonderful job, but not to be taken lightly.

“You just got to make sure you have tough skin,” Ferguson said, adding that the rewarding job still entailed facing difficult people who may say something highly offensive, or who may be emotionally comprised from an experience. EO staff must remain professional, work complaints through the system, and leave difficult experiences at the office. “You don’t want to take that stuff home.”

Members looking for more information on EO or who have complaints can find the EO office in the back half of the Learning Resource Center. The office is available 24/7 for the needs of base personnel, and adheres to a strict system to remain impartial and professional.

“We’re not on anybody’s side,” Ferguson said. “We’re a neutral party, so we’re not there to help the complainant; we’re not there to help the alleged offender. We just work the process.”

The 99th Air Base Wing Equal Opportunity office is available to speak to units and at commander’s calls. For more information, call the EO office at 652-4531.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

Nellis readies for Red Flag 15-2

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy, approaches the runway for landing during Red Flag 15-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Feb....
 
 

Nellis to host AF wounded warrior trials

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, British and Australian wounded warriors will convene here Feb. 27 through March 5 for the 2015 Air Force Trials. The trials are an adaptive sports event designed to promote the mental and physical well-being of seriously ill and injured military members and veterans. Nellis...
 
 

Just American: A century of Black life

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) — Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted Harvard-trained historian Carter Woodson....
 

 

Don’t underestimate importance of sacrifices

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — As I was reviewing some enlisted performance reports and decorations, I started contemplating a huge event in my life that occurred almost 20 years ago. In April 1995, I asked my then girlfriend Tiffani, a fellow Airman at the time, to be my wife, for better or worse. We...
 
 
awards

2014 NTTR Annual Awards Breakfast

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Mikaley Towle (From left to right) Staff Sgts. Jeffrey Golson and Kerri Rude, Master Sgt. James Rouse, and Cheryl Daniels pose for a group photo during the Nevada Test and Training Range 2014 ...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Nellis hero recognized in Portraits in Courage

Courtesy photo Tech. Sgt. Patrick McGillivray, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, poses for a photo while deployed in the Wardak Province, Afghanistan. McGillivray was recognized in the ninth v...
 




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