Air Force Welcomes 22nd Chief of Staff: General Charles Q. Brown

Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown was officially installed on Aug. 6th. The 22nd holder of the position, Gen. “CQ” Brown is the first African American in history to lead a military service as it’s highest ranking officer.

During the 90 minute, socially-distanced “Change of Responsibility” ceremony, Gen. Brown said he was very aware of this historical moment, but also recognizes those that came before him.

“Today is possible due to the perseverance of those who went before me serving as an inspiration to me and many others. Those like the Tuskegee Airmen, Benjamin O. Davis Jr., Chappie James, African American leaders across our Air Force and military, past and present, to include today’s special guest, Ed Dwight, America’s first African American astronaut candidate. It is due to their trials and tribulations in breaking barriers that I can address you today as the Air Force Chief of Staff,’ he said.

Brown previously served as Commander of Pacific Air Forces and as the incoming Chief of Staff he will continue to serve using his “four tenets” of leadership – execute at a high standard; be disciplined in execution; pay attention to the details; and have fun. In this role, Brown ensures that the Air Force is trained, ready and equipped to accomplish any mission at any time.

Art the ceremony, 21st Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein was honored for his contributions, as he is retiring after 37 years of service in the Air Force, including four years in the top role. During the ceremony, Secretary Esper presented Goldfein with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

Esper also honored David’s wife, Dawn Goldfein, presenting her with the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award.

“Gen. Goldfein, Dave, our Airmen thrive in today’s environment because of your strong leadership and your steadfast commitment to upholding the core values of the Air Force – integrity, service, and excellence, each and every day. The United States of America is safer because of you. Thank you for your lifetime of service to our great nation,” said Esper.

A few moments later, in his remarks to the new Chief of Staff, Esper said, “In returning to the Pentagon, Gen. Brown brings with him more than 35 years of service distinguished by a depth of expertise and experience that makes him exceptionally qualified to be our nation’s next Air Force Chief of Staff. I am confident you will take the Air Force to greater heights and I’m excited to watch you lead.”

As the incoming Chief of Staff, Brown’s remarks acknowledged those people in his life that influenced him. He listed his wife, Sharene and his parents and went on to share a list of Air Force colleagues, including Feinsten and other “extraordinary leaders” that paved the way for his success.

Goldfein shared his support of Brown during his remarks, “As I took the chiefs walk for the final time (on Aug. 5), I could not be prouder that a true warrior, leader and personal friend will be taking his first walk of the chief tomorrow as chief of staff of the Air Force,” he said.

Other high ranking officials also attended the ceremony to honor Goldfein and Brown, included Department of the Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley.

Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett also gave remarks during the ceremony, praising Goldfein for his service. She said that Brown has the right mix of temperament and experience in leading the Air Force to a bright and dominant future.

“Brown brings a wealth of joint leadership experiences and global perspectives to his new role as 22nd chief of staff of the Air Force. Embodying the Air Force core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do, General Brown has the right character, experience, and perspective to lead the United States Air Force,” said Barrett.

As Brown takes the reins as Chief of Staff he is leading an Air Force that is in transition and facing new priorities as Russia and China jostle for increased power under the Great Power Competition. New challenges continue to arise in dealing with North Korea and other geopolitical shifts happening across Asia.

The Air Force and the entire U.S. military need to be trained and ready to confront, deter and if needed, defeat the challenges from various countries and regimes.

“I am committed to addressing today’s challenges while preparing for the future so we can better compete, deter, and win,” said Brown.

“To do so, we must no longer defer, but must accelerate the needed change and tough choices we’ve often discussed. We must develop and empower leaders and provide the quality service and quality of life where our Airmen and families can reach their full potential,” Brown continued.

As a realistic leader, Brown also added, “No doubt there are challenges ahead that will be difficult, but not impossible. I look forward to working with the Joint Chiefs, providing our best military advice to address challenges the joint force faces today and will face in the future.”


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