AFA Supports Dignity and Respect For All
Last week the Air Force endured an unfortunate incident. Someone in the Preparatory School at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) wrote racial slurs on several room white boards of fellow cadets. Fortunately, the USAFA Superintendent, Lt Gen Jay Silveria, acted swiftly and decisively, while addressing students and faculty about the issue, watch the video, here.
As a young Airman, I endured a similar incident. While assigned to Pope AFB in NC, I played on my squadron’s flag football team. During a particularly tough game, a fellow teammate, in a moment of frustration, yelled out a racial slur toward the opposing team. Having grown up in Southeast Washington, D.C. I had heard those words before. However, never had I heard those words expressed with such venom and never had I heard those words from a fellow Airman, aimed toward fellow Airmen. The good news is the referee of the game, a senior NCO, overheard the comments and immediately ejected him from the game. Also, the Airman’s commander and first sergeant held a meeting the following day and apologized to both teams. To this day, I can still recall the hurt I felt when I heard those Airman’s words. However, the swift rebuke of the Airman and his behavior convinced me I had made the right decision joining the US Air Force.
Those of us who have served in uniform swore an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, “In the eyes of government, we are just one race. It is American.” Regardless of where Airmen grew up. Regardless of what religion Airmen practice. Regardless of what gender Airmen are. Regardless of what color or ethnicity Airmen are. None of that matters. What matters are integrity, service and excellence. America’s Air Force is the best and most feared in the world because of its Airmen—ALL of its Airmen. I pray that the incident at the USAFA was an isolated one. However, if not, we all should respond swiftly and decisively. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." America’s Airmen matter. Our voices matter.
Larry O. Spencer