In May, the Airmen of Pease join the United States Air Force in celebrating a culture of embracing diversity.
“For me, serving with diverse groups of Airmen, who have different views and opinions, has helped me be more open to new ideas and ways of looking at things,” said Staff Sgt. William T. Rand, an aircraft maintainer from the 157th Maintenance Group.
Rand explained that he has learned valuable life lessons from people of all walks of life throughout his career in the Air Force.
Rand recalled a time a younger Airman taught him the value of hard work.
“He was one of the hardest working Airman I know,” said Rand. “He explained that after growing up with nothing, he has a greater appreciation for what he has in life now. Even though the Airman was younger than me, he taught me anything can be achieved if you work hard for it.”
Tech. Sgt. AutumnRose C. Johnson, a recruiter from the 157th Air Refueling Wing, explained there are nearly four generations of Airmen at Pease.
However, she said diversity is much more than just age, status and race.
“Most people think of diversity and assume it’s a box we check to identify ourselves as some other subculture or identifier other than the typical norm,” said Johnson. “I hear the word diversity and I immediately think of the beautiful melting pot that is America. [Diversity] is not just skin tone, religion, or sex, it's viewpoints.”
The National Guard comprises a blend of civilian and military skill sets from people of diverse backgrounds who enable the National Guard to accomplish their missions.
“The willingness to accept and celebrate other people's life's perspectives is something we can all benefit from,” said Johnson.
She added there are Airmen that joined the unit to become Naturalized Citizens, Airmen that are adopted and Airmen who are single parents. There are Airmen in same sex relationships, of multiple races and multiple religions.
“We often think that because the majority of us come from the New England area that we are all mirror images of each other,” said Johnson. “That cannot be further from the truth. We have Airmen from all walks of life and our life views and experiences bring a plethora of range to the table.”
Pease Air National Guard Base exemplifies the positive impacts of a diverse team working to accomplishing one mission.
“The men and women of the 157 ARW have opened my eyes, my mind and my heart,” Johnson said. “Embracing new, fresh ideas, especially from someone who doesn't think, look and act just like you is how we grow as a team and better ourselves.”
Diversity is a strength the Air Force recognizes as essential to accomplish any mission and overcome any challenge.
“Being a carbon copy of your counterpart didn’t get America to the moon,” said Johnson. “It didn’t get us to break the sound barrier, and it definitely didn’t get us to become the greatest Air Force this world has ever seen.”
Pease ANGB celebrates each individual Airman and the unique cultures and talents they give to support the wing’s mission.
“In my career I have learned we can take life lessons from anyone, from any walk of life, to better ourselves,” said Rand. “No matter how old we are or where we come from.”