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 Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle

AFAS helps ease financial stress

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Hiroko Bush, 99th Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant, accepts a Nellis Airman’s Air Force Financial Aid Society application at the Airman and Family Re...
 
 

AF to change instructions for oaths

WASHINGTON — The Air Force has instructed force support offices across the service to allow both enlisted members and officers to omit the words “So help me God” from enlistment and officer appointment oaths if an Airman chooses. In response to concerns raised by Airmen, the Department of the Air Force requested an opinion from...
 
 

Why I became a victim advocate for fellow Airmen

Editor’s note: Though the author chose to remain anonymous, this is the real story of one Airman’s experience with sexual assault. Be mindful that no two sexual assault stories are the same. If you, or anyone you know, has been or is currently a victim of any sexual crime, contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler

USAF A3, former USAFWS commandant visits Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler Lt. Gen. Burton M. Field, deputy chief of staff of Operations, Plans and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., is sprayed by his wife Lisa after hi...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed

Shedding light on patient advocates

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed Master Sgt. Bryan Anderson, 99th Medical Group patient advocate, speaks with a patient at the Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Sept. 15....
 
 

F-35 on time to deliver global security, Air Force official said

WASHINGTON — Work leading up the completion of the multinational F-35 program is largely on track, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office executive officer said in remarks during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition here Sept. 15. Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan reported steady progress across all elements of...
 




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