"My nomination provides some hope but also comes with a heavy burden," Brown said recently in a powerful message on race.
- Gen. Charles Brown, Jr. was confirmed by the Senate as the next Air Force chief of staff. He will be the first African American to serve as leader of one of the uniformed military branches.
- Brown, a distinguished airman and the current commander of US Pacific Air Forces, has served the Air Force for 35 years, during which time he has held a number of important commands and flown combat missions.
- His confirmation comes at a time of nationwide unrest over racial injustice, a subject the general spoke passionately about last week in a powerful video message.
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The Senate unanimously confirmed Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown Jr. as the next Air Force chief of staff on Tuesday. He will be the first African American airman to serve as a military service chief, making the general's confirmation a historic achievement.
Brown, the current commander of US Pacific Air Forces, was nominated by the president to be the 22nd Air Force chief of staff on March 2.
Commissioned after graduating from Texas Tech University in 1984, Brown has served the Air Force for 35 years.
The distinguished four-star general has nearly 3,000 flying hours, including 130 combat hours, primarily in F-16 Fighting Falcons. Brown has commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, and US Air Forces Central Command. He has also served as the deputy commander for US Central Command, according to his Air Force biography.
"CQ Brown is one of the finest warriors our Air Force has ever produced," Gen. Dave Goldfein, the current Air Force chief of staff who is set to retire at the end of the month, said after Brown's nomination. "He's led worldwide — in the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. When it comes to global, operational savvy there's nobody stronger."
Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee early last month, Brown said that he was committed to seeing the Air Force achieve "irreversible momentum towards the implementation of the National Defense Strategy and an integrated and more lethal joint force."
Responding to Brown's confirmation Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he was looking forward to working with the general, characterizing him as "a Patriot and Great Leader."
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2020
Brown's confirmation Tuesday comes at a time of tensions and unrest across the US following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died on Memorial Day after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd's death ignited protests in dozens of cities, with demonstrators calling for an end to racial injustice and police brutality.
Amid the unrest, Brown spoke up and delivered a powerful message on race in America and in the military.
—PACAF (@PACAF) June 5, 2020
Reflecting on personal experiences and race, Brown said that he was thinking about his historic nomination to be the first African American to serve as the Air Force chief of staff.
"I'm thinking about the African Americans that went before me to make this opportunity possible," he said.
He added that he was thinking about the "immense expectations that come with this historic nomination," particularly in light of current events.
"I'm thinking about how my nomination provides some hope but also comes with a heavy burden," he said, acknowledging that he "can't fix centuries of racial discrimination in our country."
Brown said he was looking at ways to make improvements "so that all airmen, both today and tomorrow, can appreciate the value of diversity and can serve in an environment where they can reach their full potential."
He said, though, that he did not have all the answers.
He expressed a hope for "the wisdom and knowledge to lead during difficult times like these."