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Stronger Together

The 171st Air Refueling Wing created a Diversity Committee in order to promote diversity and inclusion while fostering a supportive environment where difficult conversations can occur to address inequality issues that may arise. (U.S. Air National Guard Graphic Illustration by Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Monk)

The 171st Air Refueling Wing created a Diversity Committee in order to promote diversity and inclusion while fostering a supportive environment where difficult conversations can occur to address inequality issues that may arise. (U.S. Air National Guard Graphic Illustration by Senior Master Sgt. Shawn Monk)

FINDLAY TOWNSHIP, Pa. --

The 171st Air Refueling Wing created a Diversity Committee in order to promote diversity and inclusion while fostering a supportive environment where difficult conversations can occur to address inequality issues that may arise.

“As military members, we are all ONE TEAM, and there is no place for bias and prejudice within our ranks,” said Col. Mark Goodwill, commander of the 171st ARW.

The diversity committee was developed to align with the Air Force’s reinvigorated effort towards creating actionable change to increase racial diversity and ensure equal opportunity throughout the force.

Working alongside already established support functions on the base like equal opportunity, first sergeants and chaplains, the hope is this committee will become a permanent group at the 171st. It is comprised of highly motivated individuals committed to bringing awareness and acting as a resource for members of the wing. 

The committee, led by Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Cameron, Human Resource Advisor at the 171st, asked for volunteers who are interested in tackling issues that prevent unit cohesion.

“Our experience shapes our perspectives, forms our biases, and our points of view. If you have a broader perspective and empathy of where people are coming from, it leads to better understanding and communication,” said Cameron.

The goal of the group is to provide greater opportunity in achieving support surrounding diversity and inclusion.

“In the past we’ve had similar initiatives, but it seems there was nothing specifically geared towards a diversity committee, so in my mind this committee is a way to address the issues the Air Force has been talking about, the current climate in our society, and a way for us at the wing to say where do we start,” said Cameron.

Organizational and cultural shifts that result in lasting change take time to develop. The 171st ARW continues to take steps towards increasing awareness of peoples’ cultural differences and perspectives.

“We at the 171st embrace diversity and inclusion. We will continue to promote healthy, open and equitable organizational culture,” said Goodwill.