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Highlighting the importance of diversity in today’s Air Force

Brig. Gen. Stacey T. Hawkins, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, was a guest speaker during the fifth annual Cultural Awareness Day Friday, March 23, 2018, on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He emphasized how crucial diversity is in the success of today’s Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)

Brig. Gen. Stacey T. Hawkins, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, was a guest speaker during the fifth annual Cultural Awareness Day Friday, March 23, 2018, on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He emphasized how crucial diversity is in the success of today’s Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)

Col. Eric Shafa, 42nd Air Base Wing commander, presents Brig. Gen. Stacey T. Hawkins, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, with a certificate signifying the placement of a commemorative brick at the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Hall, Maxwell-Gunter Annex March 23, 2018. The AFEHH offers these bricks as a way to recognize a devoted career, to honor service or acknowledge the dedication of spouses, family members and others. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)

Col. Eric Shafa, 42nd Air Base Wing commander, presents Brig. Gen. Stacey T. Hawkins, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, with a certificate signifying the placement of a commemorative brick at the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Hall, Maxwell-Gunter Annex March 23, 2018. The AFEHH offers these bricks as a way to recognize a devoted career, to honor service or acknowledge the dedication of spouses, family members and others. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)

Highlighting the importance of diversity in today’s Air Force

Representatives from the Black History Month booth serve food to an Airman during Maxwell’s Cultural Awareness Day, March 23, 2018, on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Black History Month was one of the nine observances represented at the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)

Airman try traditional food at the Hispanic heritage booth March 23, 2018, during Cultural Awareness Day on Maxwell Air Force Base. Nine observances where represented during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)

Airmen try food at the Hispanic heritage booth March 23, 2018, during Cultural Awareness Day on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Nine observances where represented during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)

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.”