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.


 
 

 
square

Luke Lightning strikes at Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., taxis to the runway for a training exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev., April 15. Maintaine...
 
 

CSAF discusses Air Force’s need to reset

WASHINGTON — The Air Force Association hosted its monthly Air Force breakfast with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III in Arlington, Virginia April 2. During his speech, Welsh addressed many topics and issues in today’s Air Force, including hitting the “reset button.” “For the last couple of years what we have...
 
 

Ten seconds later, that picture still exists

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — There is a conversation many teenagers have had with their parents or friends, me included. “Hey, don’t worry! It’ll be fine; all of the pictures I send disappear after 10 seconds. That’s how Snapchat works.” While many teenagers only share their silly, cross-eyed, quadruple-chinned faces with friends, there are a...
 

 

Becoming stronger through failure

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — Failing the Air Force physical training test was my greatest fear since joining the military. It is embarrassing to admit recently that fear came to fruition, but what I have learned through that failure has become one of my greatest strengths. After failing, I definitely felt like a weak...
 
 

‘Eye’ see you

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Lisa Winkelman, 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry technician, simulates taking a vision test at the Optometry Clinic on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 15. Getting an eye exam is important to ensure eye vision and pressure is good and in the normal range. For...
 
 

Nellis AFB goes green for Earth Day

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The first Earth Day occurred April 22, 1970, and was introduced by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. More than 20 million people and thousands of local schools and communities participated in the first Earth Day in the U.S. Across the Air Force today, installations are taking aggressive strides...
 




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