Black History Month feature: Tech Sgt. Avery Grinston

  • Published
  • By SrA Jon Stefanko
  • 932nd Airlift Wing

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- In recognition of Black History Month, Airmen with the 73rd Airlift Squadron shared their stories of being a minority in the Air Force, the barriers they've overcome, and their thoughts on the service's initiatives to achieve a diverse and inclusive force.

In this article, we talk with Tech Sgt. Avery Grinston, a Caseyville, Illinois native who works as an executive flight attendant with the 73rd Airlift Squadron.

Even though you're a newer Airman, enlisting in November 2021, is there something you've done that you're most proud of?

Tech Sgt. Grinston: I deployed to Kurdistan back when I was in a security forces unit in 2014. That was my first time leaving the country. Another big moment for me was to be gained by the 73rd because I didn't think I would get this position. Many people try to be a flight attendant in the Air Force—it's a competitive process—but I was excited when I found out that out of all the applicants, I was chosen.  

Have you experienced any barriers or discrimination in your career or civilian life?

Tech Sgt. Grinston: While I haven't experienced discrimination personally, I have witnessed it happen. It was when I was in basic [military training] years back. We had a trainee from a foreign country, and the instructor referred to him as 'Ghana' instead of his real name. Thankfully it was reported, and the Air Force handled it. We ended up getting a new instructor, he apologized on behalf of his predecessor, and it didn't happen again. So, while some might not think it was a big deal, it was nice to see the instructors take it seriously.

Do you have any advice for those going through hardship?

Tech Sgt. Grinston: If you ever have something weighing you down and need to talk to someone, know there are people you can talk to. The Air Force has made great strides to foster an inclusive culture, one full of people that care about you and will listen. Whether it's a peer, your supervisor, chaplain—there are also various resources available to you as a service member to help with any stressors in your life. Whether you're wearing the uniform full-time or only part-time like me, we're all in this together, and you're not alone. 

In honor of Black History Month, is there someone in history or your personal life you want to recognize?

Tech Sgt. Grinston: I'd want to recognize my father. He's a Vietnam veteran and the reason I joined. His hard work ethic inspired me to do my best, and I appreciate him pushing me to be the best version of myself. It's people like him and the sacrifices that he made that allowed me to be where I am today, and for that, I am grateful.