The U.S. Senate made history on Tuesday by confirming Air Force Gen. Charles Brown as the branch’s new chief of staff.
With the unanimous approval of senators, the previous commander of the Pacific Air Forces became the first black officer to ever serve as the head of a military branch, according to the Daily Caller.
“A history of racial issues”
Brown’s confirmation comes amid widespread civil unrest in response to racial injustice and the death of George Floyd, which the general addressed in a recent Facebook video.
“I’m thinking about how full I am with emotion, not just for George Floyd, but the many African Americans who have suffered the same fate as George Floyd,” Brown said.
He went on to lament “a history of racial issues” that has played out repeatedly in his own life and military career.
“I’m thinking about wearing the same flight suit with the same wings on my chest as my peers, and then being questioned by another military member: ‘Are you a pilot?'” Brown recalled.
In public statements, Brown said his words were sometimes “perceived to represent the African American perspective” instead of merely his perspective “informed by being an African American.”
Such experiences have led him to desire “the wisdom and knowledge to lead those willing to stay committed and sustain action to make our Air Force better,” he said.
“A Patriot and Great Leader”
President Donald Trump obviously believed Brown was the best choice to lead the branch, and celebrated the 98–0 vote in favor of confirming him to the chief of staff post. Brown will also be the first black military official to hold a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff since Army Gen. Colin Powell.
“My decision to appoint [Air Force] General Charles Brown as the USA’s first-ever African American military service chief has now been approved by the Senate,” the president tweeted.
Trump also called it a “historic day” for the nation and expressed his excitement “to work even more closely with Gen. Brown, who is a patriot and great leader!”
There are few concepts behind which lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can stand in agreement. When it comes to a pivotal appointment like this one, it is reassuring to see the broad support for the next Air Force chief.