Air Force Wants Diversity


The head of recruitment for the U.S. Air Force says she’s on a mission to improve diversity and boost the ranks of the organization with greater flexibility for those who serve. Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt told an audience at NBAA-BACE 2019 that recruitment services have been put all under one roof so those who want to work for the Air Force, as civilians, in the Reserves or in the regular forces can tailor their service to suit their situation.

She also said there is a special emphasis on recruiting underrepresented segments of society. “We want to look like the country we represent,” she said. “We want more women and minorities as pilots.” Leavitt knows something about that. She was the first female U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and also the first female wing commander. Almost all her time is on the F-15E Strike Eagle and she was part of the inspiration for the starring character role in the recent Captain Marvel movie.

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  1. “Diversity” makes absolute sense, right? …..No need to see those who excel at needed and necessary skills, such as flying successful missions in billion dollar aircraft. It’s far more important to ask and answer the question “how does it make you feel?”, “Do you feel included?” and “Do you feel you have a safe place?” BS!! We need to test to find the absolute best and brightest in the skills and intellect needed for the mission!

  2. What the heck is happening to MY USAF ??

    At Airventure, I listened to the Chief of Staff glowingly refer to the two years he took “off” from the USAF Academy so he could ride around the Country on his bicycle with his dog (sic) and “find” himself. “Oy” is right, Yars. Well … if she wants the USAF to look like the Country it represents, then we better start training some illegal aliens to fly F-16’s, too.

  3. It’s apparent that a gender and racial prejudicial mindset is alive and doing well here. At least within the silent generation of this group. Rosie The Riveter and all other women of her era, Jackie Cochran and her WASPs and the Tuskegee’s Red Tails continue to be underestimated.

    Opening doors without lowering standards is a good thing. Keeping the doors open, becomes the responsibility of those entering.

    • Call me blind, but I haven’t seen any closed doors lately.
      Competency comes in all shapes and colors. But color doesn’t beget competency any more than competency begets color. Or gender. Or whatever.
      Seek (and reward) competency. If you collect enough of it, you’ll observe diversity.
      Seek diversity, and you’ll find it. But competency will be serendipitous.
      Priorities. Not prejudice.

  4. Tell us all just how Rosie, Jackie, the WASPs and the Red Tails “continue to be underestimated,” Raf … inquiring minds of the “silent generation” would like to know. Give us concrete examples of each.

    In any very large group of people pulled from the entire Country and various walks of life — the USAF — what you see on the outside of the fence is exactly what you find inside the fence. In fact — if anything — OVER representation of minorities is a problem in some areas, especially within the enlisted corps. I spent 21 years in the USAF and I can say with certainty that I never truly saw any gender or racial discrimination any place I was. I took an interest in this subject and it was nearly always true. This woman is inventing a problem where none exists. When diversity becomes more important than raw qualifications, we have a problem, Houston. From what I know of TODAY’s PC USAF, it’s a place where everyone is walking on eggs … afraid to do or say anything that might offend someone. It’s NOT a place I would have stayed in had it been that way back in MY time.

    Curious, I looked up this woman’s military bio. Geezus! She’s a professional student. True, she did fly F-15E’s. Ya can’t take that from her. Great! I AM impressed. But she’s also a professional “student.” Her bio is twice as long and thick as that of the Chief of Staff, Gen Goldfein who — oh by the way — graduated from the USAF Academy with a BS in Philosophy (after he got done riding his bike around with his doggie, Spot) while SHE came into the USAF with a BS and MS in Aeronautical Engineering. THEN … she was off to the races trying to find things to stuff her military dossier with. I’ve seen people like her when I was in. The bottom line … as I was oft quoted as saying, “They start believing their own wild blue yonder BS.” Stop the misandrist hype and start running the USAF Recruiting Service, General!

  5. A race to the bottom. “Let’s promote people based on gender and skin color, as long as they’re not white males.” The airlines are doing much the same thing, lowering the entrance requirements for women and minorities. Not only does this decrease safety, but punishes women and minority applicants who actually can get in based on their skills, not simply their gender or race. Years ago bureaucrats came up with a policy based on race and gender discrimination and mendaciously called it “affirmative action.” Without this, the public could be reasonably assured that anyone in a safety-critical role got there by competence and skill. Now we have no way of knowing whether a specific female minority airline pilot or air traffic controller is truly the best for the job (which in some cases she may be), or was given the position simply because she was needed to fulfill the diversity quota. This is demeaning to the minorities who actually do have the skills.
    There’s a foolish push to get more women into engineering, maintenance technology, and flying, rather than allowing all people to simply pursue the type of work that appeals to them. Should we also lower the standards for white males to give them more incentive to become nurses or social workers because those fields are generally dominated by women?

  6. Read the comments. Sense the fears and indifference. This is my stance. I’m for equal high standards for all not a degradation to include the incompetent. Male or female. In 1940 while in Texas my mother, a school teacher for 45 years noticed a sign. It read “No negroes, no dogs or Mexicans”. the doors were closed tightly then. My mother had the sign taken away. While in the Army I was called a “half breed” as an insult. I did not like it then nor now. I’ve competed, I’ve been given opportunities and created opportunities, entered and have kept the doors open. Gratitude is within recognizing the good of the American system and I am proud that I have reciprocated by giving back, albeit in a small way, by opening doors to all with the same standard.

    • Raf … the good Major General said that there is a special emphasis on recruiting underrepresented segments of society. She was quoted as saying, “We want to look like the country we represent. We want more women and minorities as pilots.” As a retired member of the USAF, I take great offense at her comment and verbalized it … so did others.

      The USAF already has all jobs open to women and doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race or gender or religion or anything … didn’t do it during MY time from the 60’s to the 80’s and certainly doesn’t do it now. So where does SHE get off saying such things? She has enjoyed both a stellar climb in rank and a generous dose of training … so could others if they applied themselves. If a segment of the society at large doesn’t, can’t or won’t qualify … that’s THEIR problem … not the USAF. The natural outflow of her comments are to assume they’ll do anything and everything to get minorities and women into the USAF at any cost. I say again … I take GREAT offense at her comment. I have a right given MY service length. Besides … I’m PO’ed that she isn’t trying to get more Polish (my) people into the USAF. And since illegals represent 11 million of our population, why shouldn’t THEY be represented as well. After all, California now helps them to vote (illegally).

      We — the silent generation you described – are challenging that comment on the basis of using race or gender as an affirmative action tool vs. a pure competency based selection criteria to gain entrance into the USAF … period. If you don’t want to be branded a racist … don’t use race as a means to gain entrance. If you don’t want to be labeled a misogynist, don’t use the type of plumbing in your pants as a criteria.

      You came back and said, “It’s apparent that a gender and racial prejudicial mindset is alive and doing well here. At least within the silent generation of this group. Rosie The Riveter and all other women of her era, Jackie Cochran and her WASPs and the Tuskegee’s Red Tails continue to be underestimated.”

      I came back and said, “Tell us all just how Rosie, Jackie, the WASPs and the Red Tails “continue to be underestimated,” Raf … inquiring minds of the “silent generation” would like to know. Give us concrete examples of each.” You didn’t do that. Instead, you used a story about your Mother. You didn’t answer the question. I say again … give us all a concrete example of how those groups were or are underestimated … and by whom.

      BTW: My best friend is Hispanic and from Santa Maria. I both empathize AND sympathize with your plight and that of your Mother (really, I do) but you are GENERALIZING here. I am not a racist or a misogynist. If you’ve experienced such things, I’m sorry. But don’t assign those traits to me based upon a bad taste in your situation. You know that I am aware of ‘your’ story and I’m glad you’re paying back, as well.

      You sense “fears and indifference.” We agree on most things aeronautical but here … not so much.

  7. Maj. General Leavitt is to be admired. First women pilot to enter combat then racking up 300 hours in combat missions and 3000 TT in various military aircraft. Maj. General Leavitt is well educated, a condecorated military pilot, a good military manager with decades in service. Her job now is to recruit new talent and to include all segments of our society. “We want more women and minorities as pilots”. Of any color or ethnicity. I like that. Induct the best and the brightest I say. Including those from Minnesota and California.

    The study of past events, history, includes the dismissal of the Rosie The Riveter et al, as well as the disbanding of the WASPs with cynical indifference allowed by the irresponsible and misogynistic leadership remains of WWII. Now for the red Tails. Domestic racial prejudice was extreme then affecting the military as well. The Tuskegee Airman were examples of courage and patriotism in spite of the denigrations they endured during and after the war for decades after. The Watts riots were going on as I was leaving for Vietnam. I did not understand them then, I do now. Thus the silent generation reference.

    By civil force, racial and gender prejudice has slowly diminished but needs constant awareness and a need for “color blind positive action” programs to be put into operation. The Airforce recruiting program is on the right.

      • That’s pretty much the way I see it, Mark.

        The recent fiasco with selecting new ATC aspirants is a perfect example. People who paid good $$ and spent considerable time to get an education in preparation for an ATC career were being passed over because the FAA invented some sort of “diversity” selection test which had nothing to do with being a potential ATC employee. Only street people could fill it out correctly. That’s bravo sierra! What this General is proposing is — likewise — going to wind up doing something similar. Mark my words … I know how the USAF works.

        Just the other day, I read where the USAF gave special “dispensation” to allow a Sikh member to wear his headgear in full dress blues uniform. WTH !! I guess the General in charge of uniforms didn’t remember that “uniform” means everyone looks the same. If I wanted to stand next to someone wearing Sikh headgear … I’da joined the Indian Air Force. Next thing ya know, wearing Bermuda shorts in the cockpit when it’s hot will be allowed.

        With respect to HER career … you’d have to be an “insider” to understand that the position she’s been placed into is very likely a “pigeon hole” end of career position. You don’t enter the USAF with a BS and MS in AE, wind up selected to fly the F-15E Strike Eagle, serve as a Sq Commander and then fulfill your Washington / Pentagon desk time all the while adding still more credentials at every turn only to wind up running the Recruiting Command. There’s no doubt in my ex-USAF mind that she did something to displease someone above her or someone finally decided she’s an over achieving professional student. You’d expect her to be in charge of an acquisition program or fielding a new weapon system … not in charge of recruiting. That’s what the USAF does when they want to give someone the message that, “Thanks for your service … don’t let the door hit ya on the butt on the way out.” Being the Commander of the Recruiting Service is NOT an upwardly mobile position. Mark my words — again — she’s gonna do harm to a system that is working perfectly well now … today. I could cite concrete example after example in support of same.

        Women are 7% of aviators NOT because there is discrimination. No one I ever met said, “Oh, there’s a woman … I don’t want to teach her to fly.” It’s because women aren’t interested or trying hard enough. Same thing for minorities. It’ll be interesting to watch and see just exactly what she does in support of her “vision.”

  8. Larry and Mark. I researched the Maj. General and did not find any evidence of ineptitude, collusion, dereliction of duty or of un-American activities in her career. Maybe you have dirt on her not yet made public.

    However, I found the Air Force Recruiting Service purpose And have included it here. It’s interesting. Please let me know your thoughts as I am eager to find a common ground on the matter.

    Air Force Recruiting Service, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, is a key component of Air Education and Training Command.

    The mission of Air Force Recruiting Service is to inspire, engage and recruit the next generation of Airmen.
    Air Force Recruiting Service recruits quality men and women from a cross-section of America, responsive to the ever-changing needs of the Air Force. The accession of a steady flow of new recruits is essential to maintain a force with the proper distribution of skills. The Air Force recruits the best candidates possible, and then provides them with tough, highly technical training that gives them the right skills to replenish the combat capability of America’s Air Force.

    Air Force Recruiting Service accesses more than 31,000 members each year. It places emphasis on recruiting people with no prior military service into one of more than 130 enlisted career opportunities.
    AFRS also recruits prior and non-prior service officer candidates for Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Additionally, AFRS focuses on recruiting chaplains and medical professionals such as physicians, dentists, nurses, healthcare administrators and biomedical science corps members.

    The command is responsible for accessing 100 percent of the enlisted force, 90 percent of the service’s health professions officers, approximately 16 percent of the line officers and 100 percent of Air Force chaplains.

    Attract the most talented Airmen to preserve the security of America.

    In total, AFRS includes approximately 2,862 personnel who support the mission of recruiting the enlisted members and officers needed to meet the diverse demands of America’s expeditionary Air Force. 
    AFRS is composed of three groups and 28 squadrons. These groups are: the 360th Recruiting Group at New Cumberland, Pa.; the 369th Recruiting Group at JBSA-Lackland, Texas; and the 372nd Recruiting Group at Hill AFB, Utah.
    There are approximately 1,294 recruiters located in 1,040 recruiting offices throughout the United States. There is also a recruiting presence in England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico and Guam. The highest quality Airmen are nominated by their commanders and selected for duty as Air Force recruiters. The nominated recruiters attend an initial seven-week training course at the Air Force Recruiting School at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
    AFRS uses business principles, including sales training and advertising, to market the U.S. Air Force as a challenging and rewarding career opportunity for young Americans.

    When the Air Force became a separate service in 1947, it recognized the value of providing outstanding customer service in maintaining a positive connection with the American public to attract high-quality men and women.

    Initially, the Army and Air Force conducted a joint recruiting program through the Army, but the Air Force assumed responsibility for its own recruiting in 1954. The mission was assigned to the 3500th U.S. Air Force Recruiting Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, under the command of Brig. Gen. Arno Luehman. The wing was inactivated on July 8, 1959, and the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service was activated in its place. In 1965, the headquarters moved to its present location at JBSA-Randolph, Texas. The command was renamed Air Force Recruiting Service in 1994.

    AFRS Public Affairs
    For more information about the Air Force Recruiting Service mission, contact the AFRS Public Affairs office by calling DSN 665-4687 or 210-565-4687.

  9. Raf, Raf, Raf … how many years did you serve in the USAF? I know you served — in time of war — and thank you for that service. I did, too. But I served more than twenty years in the USAF surrounded by hoards of very credentialed and special officers and you didn’t.

    You NEVER read (and I never intimated) that I said that the good General committed, “ineptitude, collusion, dereliction of duty or of un-American activities in her career.” Had she done any of those, she’d be toast … but isn’t. Neither did I say I have “dirt” on her. DON’T put words into my comments. You’ve been watching too many Judge Kavanaugh hearings.

    The officer corps within the USAF is a highly political, PC and who you know and who you [fill in the blank] type of cloistered sub-society. It’s the worst of all the Services in that regard but they’re all bad. Go back and read what I wrote. You can quote all the PR references you want and it won’t support what I said because it’s invisible and can only be sensed or surmised. You can’t touch, feel or smell what I’m talking about but it is nevertheless an everyday part of being a USAF officer. Its intangible. You can sorta measure it by the type of assignments an officer gets … especially as they rise in rank. And THAT is the genesis for all of my comments here. Her bio is far thicker than that of the Chief of Staff of USAF so SHE should be Chief (wouldn’t THAT add diversity) and HE should be in charge of recruiting … get my “drift?” And why not? Because HE went to the USAF Academy and she didn’t. Politics is an everyday part of USAF life at the top. Good officers get passed over because they didn’t smile right at the Generals wife and bad officers get promoted because they kiss the you know what of the right people. It’s a fact of military life.

    I’ll put it in terms you can understand. When you’re acting as a CFI, you “sense” who’s gonna be a good pilot or an average pilot or a menace. How do you quantify that? You just know.

    The USAF Recruiting Service IS an important function — no doubt — but given her very long list of credentials, that assignment doesn’t fit. I already said that. I said, “it’s very likely she’s been pigeon holed” — for reasons I can only conject — and that’s that. I have my suspicions but that’s all. Said in reverse, it’d be like you suddenly being put in charge of the Univ of California because you’re a CFI. Wouldn’t fit so what do you think others would say if that happened?

    So now the General has what I see as a distorted vision for the future of the Recruiting Service — the subject of this blog — the power to make it a mission statement and we’re likely gonna see something exactly like what we saw with the FAA / ATC accession problem. Hopefully not? Better not! I have a vested interest.

    Go back up and re-read what Mark F said … that’s MY underlying ‘current.’

    I’m done with this blog now. Don’t bother commenting … I won’t see it. We’re boring others. wait for the next one.

  10. ” I researched the Maj. General and did not find any evidence of ineptitude, collusion, dereliction of duty or of un-American activities in her career.”

    We need killers and warriors.
    Unless THAT is the mission statement then the service is being inept, derelict, un-American, and unwittingly colluding to let enemy forces have an upper hand. Just have that as the clear mission statement and let ANYONE volunteer and see if they can cut it.

    • … and if you want to see what “OUR” Services can do … witness what just happened over the weekend in Syria. Some USAF types took part in that operation. As you say, Mark, “we need killers and warrior”s willing to risk — and sometimes sacrifice — their lives … NOT diversity for diversity’s sake. If you qualify … fine. But don’t go giving us quotas just cuz. I truly fear that’s what the General’s vision of recruiting is going to be.

      • Absolutely. I could care less about skin color or urinary tract routing. We need PEOPLE on our side who are the best at the business of war. It’s that simple. Anything more than that and it’s misguided and potentially put’s our nation at risk.