General Charles “CQ” Brown has officially been confirmed as the next Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, the branch’s highest military position, following a unanimous confirmation from the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. The historic vote secured Brown’s position as the 22nd Chief of Staff in Air Force history, and the first black service chief in the history of our nation.
Brown rose through the ranks as an F-16 pilot with more than 2,900 hours in the cockpit and at least 130 flight hours in combat environments. Brown’s talents in the cockpit eventually led him to serving as an F-16 pilot instructor before moving on to a variety of command positions, including his recent role as the commander of Pacific Air Forces.
Throughout his impressive career, General Brown has repeatedly stood out among his peers. First commissioned in 1984, Brown went on to earn a master’s degree in aeronautical science and was singled out at Air Command and Staff College as his class’ distinguished graduate in 1994. He has commanded Air Force Weapons School, two fighter wings, the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command, and also served as the deputy commander for U.S. Central Command.
The historic 98-0 Senate vote to confirm Brown saw Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the process–an unusual move as the Vice President historically serves as s tie-breaker in hotly contested votes. Instead, Pence said he attended to confirmation because of its historic significance.
Today is a Historic Day for our Nation. The Senate has confirmed President @realDonaldTrump’s nominee, General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. as Chief of Staff to the @usairforce—the first-ever African American Service Chief in the history of our Country. Congratulations General Brown! pic.twitter.com/6nbjUG01F8
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) June 9, 2020
Vice President Pence wasn’t the only leader to extend their congratulations to General Brown. Chief of Space Operations and fellow service chief, Gen. Jay Raymond also congratulated Brown on his confirmation.
“Gen. Brown is an innovative leader who clearly understands the complex and evolving strategic environment we face today as a Department,” Raymond said. “He clearly understands the importance of leading across all domains to compete, deter and win — especially in war-fighting domains like space. I am thrilled with Gen. Brown’s confirmation. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate.”
Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett took to Twitter to point to Brown’s credentials and accolades as a military leader.
.@USAirForce, @SpaceForceDOD & I congratulate Gen. Brown & his wife, Sharene, on his confirmation as #CSAF! Gen. Brown's unrivaled leadership, operational experience & global perspective will prove crucial to modernizing the #USAF to meet tomorrow's national security challenges. pic.twitter.com/JPUBY6hD7X
— Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett (@SecAFOfficial) June 9, 2020
Brown’s confirmation comes at a challenging time for America, as protests regarding racial injustice continue to take place in cities all around the nation, following the murder of George Floyd while in police custody.
Earlier this week, Brown released a heartfelt video in which he described the challenges of being a black man in America, and an officer in the United States Air Force–a dichotomy Brown described as having to lead two distinct lives.
“I’m thinking about having to represent by working twice as hard to prove [that my supervisors’] perceptions and expectations of African Americans were invalid,” he said in the video. “I’m thinking about the airmen who don’t have a life similar to mine, and don’t have to navigate through two worlds. I’m thinking about how these airmen see racism, where they don’t see it as a problem because it doesn’t happen to them, or whether they’re empathetic.”
"As the Commander of Pacific Air Forces, a senior leader in our Air Force, and an African-American, many of you may be wondering what I’m thinking about the current events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd. Here’s what I’m thinking about…" – Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. pic.twitter.com/I2sf1067L6
— PACAF (@PACAF) June 5, 2020
The officer responsible for Floyd’s death has been charged with second degree murder and the other three officers involved in the incident have also been taken into custody–but the incident itself has served as a pivot point for many Americans who have used Floyd’s death as an impetus for positive change in their community and nation. Protests throughout the country calling for racial equality have garnered support from service leaders in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps–but it was the Air Force that first spoke out about race in recent weeks.
On June 1, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright published an Op-Ed on his social media accounts outlining his concerns as a black man and the senior enlisted leader of America’s Air Force.
“Like you, I don’t have all of the answers, but I am committed to seeing a better future for this nation. A future where Black men must no longer suffer needlessly at the hands of White police officers, and where Black Airmen have the same chance to succeed as their White counterparts. Trust me, I understand this is a difficult topic to talk about…
Following CMSAF Wright’s post, the current Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General David Goldfein, also released a statement and the two leaders released a number of videos and participated in town hall discussions about race within their branch.
Stan Foster says
Our nation is black and white, not one without the other. The strengths of our nation is both together on an equal plain. Our society today needs healing and I think this has to begin in education and in the churches, reaching out to heal the wounds of past generations.
We can look back to the constitution and bill of rights to see the goals that were set for us as a new nation. We must look at ourselves as still that new nation, under God and our races together as equal citizens . That is what gives our nation strength and gives peace to each one of us. This will heal our land.
Agree, but difficult since our education system at the state and local levels is controlled by teachers unions and social justice warriors whose primary goal is to punish white people for deeds they had no involvement in. But, their strategy, along with the media and Democrat party is to use racism as a means to control what is taught in grade schools. Likewise, colleges have, for decades have incubated socialist theory and are now attempting to “burn down” our Republic.
Calvan northpeewee102 says
Wasn’t Gen. COLIN POWELL General of the army & Chairman of the JOINT CHIEFS of Staff?
Yes but! That’s army not AirForce! But even then! It’s identity Politics! How convenient that all this crap is going on and now!! And Now The AirForce has its first black CSAF! He mentions all these things that he’s thinking about But doesn’t question the timing! Yet he questions other people on being empathetic!
Actually no. General of the Army (back to WW2), is a 5 star rank. Has not been a 5 star general since. Colin Powell was Chairman on Joint Chiefs (President’s principal military advisor). Under him are the services military chiefs to were this gent will be.
Paul Suprono, Jr. says
YES . . . However, he’s the FIRST Air Force African American Chief of Staff !
William G Mattheis says
He was never the Chief of Staff (COS) of the US Army – – ie, not a SERVICE CHIEF. The COS, Air Force; COS, Army; Commandant of the Marine Corps; and the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) are our Service Chiefs. Some folks throw in the Commandant of the Coast Guard (so they won’t feel like 2nd class citizens), but he in not, technically speaking, a Service Chief.
Haywood R. Hicks says
God bless you General Brown. You have my heartfelt congratulations and my prayers for the monumental task before you. I would have been proud to serve under you as PACAF Commander in 1972 during the Vietnam War. I only regret is that you are here and now; my service was there and then. “Carry On” sir.