MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. —
The Maxwell Equal Opportunity office welcomed members from the community to celebrate diversity March 23, during the base’s fifth annual Cultural Awareness Day event in the Honor Guard Hangar here.
Brig. Gen. Stacey T. Hawkins, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, was a guest speaker and shared his insight on why diversity is so important in today’s Air Force.
He mentioned that his focus for the day was going to be about three themes: remembering, reflecting and renewing.
“70 years ago President Truman signed an executive order to integrate the Armed Services, 45 years ago President Nixon instituted the All-Volunteer Force, 25 years ago the Air Force began opening combat career fields to women and 7 years ago the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was repealed- -that’s progress,” Hawkins said. “No one can dispute we have increased combat lethality over the years because we have embraced diversity.”
He emphasized how important diversity of thought is in decision making and how it applies to the Air Force’s mission. An example he used was being in a meeting: if everyone there looks the same, thinks the same and likes the same things, the decisions the group makes will most likely not be the best one.
According to Hawkins, in order to deal with today’s threats, the Air Force needs to have diverse thinking.
“We are going to have to have Airmen who come from different backgrounds and different perspectives in order to take us to the next level,” he said. “It will take all of us to achieve our objectives and to be able to reserve our freedom and values in this country.”
Following the general’s remarks, attendees got the opportunity to visit booths representing all of the observances that occur throughout the year.
“Prior to 2014, the base celebrated these special observances with individual programs throughout the year, and maybe some people were able to attend one or two of those events,” said Jackie McCollum, Maxwell Equal Opportunity director. “However, by hosting these events together, we can exchange ideas on the different cultural groups that make up the mosaic of this country in a combined program, increasing awareness and education to the base populace.”