U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --
Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria said inclusiveness makes the Air Force better for all and he’s pleased that today’s generation of cadets identify themselves as Airmen regardless of gender.
“I resist the notion of tying masculinity and our warrior ethos together,” Silveria said.
The general was one of four guests to sit on panel hosted by the Academy’s Schulte Assembly in Fairchild Hall. Academy staff members Col. Kim Campbell, Col. Kathleen Harrington and Lt. Col. Johanna Hernandez, joined Silveria and cadets to discuss the importance of respecting one’s abilities regardless of their gender. They also chatted about the inroads the Air Force has made in becoming a “values driven” service instead of a “gender-driven” service.
The group all said any tradition based on gender-stereotypes should be challenged.
Silveria said respectfully challenging traditions and behavior that indicates gender bias is part of any Airman’s responsibility to “lead up.”
“When I say ‘lead up,’ I mean you have the responsibility to call out your leadership on this type of behavior,” he said
Silveria said leadership is inherently linked to values and the Academy needs values-driven cadets who believe promoting respect for all is right in any circumstance.
“There’s a values-set different from what we accept from a lieutenant than from what’s accepted in general society,” he said. “We have to close the gap. We have to expect a more developmental approach in the area of values.”
The general said he and other Academy leaders are working to develop training for freshman and sophomore cadets that helps them better develop, appreciate, and take to heart the Air Force core values and, as Harrington said, “What it really means to serve.”
“They need to intrinsically feel that their service and their experience at the Academy has value,” she said.
Harrington said she hopes senior-ranking cadets inspire younger cadets to pursue opportunities at the Academy designed to expand their intellect and experience.
“College is supposed to be about transformation,” she said. “You’re supposed to leave different than when you came in.”
The Schulte Assembly meets regularly to promote and discuss issues and concerns of women at the Academy and to host a variety of events. The panel’s namesake, 1st Lt. Roslyn Schulte, was a 2006 Academy graduate killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2009.