Despite continued racial progress, Black people are still becoming the first of multiple titles.
On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown as the next chief of staff of the Air Force, The Washington Post reports. The confirmation makes the 57-year-old veteran fighter pilot the first Black service chief in U.S. military history.
Brown was nominated by the president in March and confirmed with a 98-to-0 vote.
“It is an absolute privilege for Sharene and I to serve our Airmen and families,” Brown said in a statement. “We are committed to building upon our foundation and legacy to ensure we remain the most respected and capable Air Force in the world.”
Previously, Brown—the son of a retired Army colonel and Texas Tech University graduate—led as the commander of Pacific Air Forces. He will now lead the Air Force as it prepares for new protocols, including incorporating artificial technology into operations.
Recently, Brown addressed the murder of George Floyd and discussed his experience as “the only African American in the room.”
"As the Commander of Pacific Air Forces, a senior leader in our Air Force, and an African-American, many of you may be wondering what I’m thinking about the current events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd. Here’s what I’m thinking about…" – Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. pic.twitter.com/I2sf1067L6
— PACAF (@PACAF) June 5, 2020
“As the Commander of Pacific Air Forces, a senior leader in our Air Force, and an African-American, many of you may be wondering what I’m thinking about,” Brown begins. “I’m thinking about how full I am with emotion — not just for George Floyd, but the many African Americans that have suffered the same fate as George Floyd.”
Brown continued, “I’m thinking about the pressure I felt to perform error-free, especially for supervisors I perceived had expected less from me as an African American.”
The military has had Black officers in its storied history, but Brown will be the first to lead a military service branch.