Black History Month spotlight: Chief Master Sgt. Aaron Flanigan, 932nd Maintenance Squadron

  • Published
  • 932nd Airlift Wing

When I came to the 932nd Maintenance Group in February of 2009, one of the Chiefs was an African-American, Chief Master Sgt. Simon. I saw him and immediately was encouraged and felt there was hope for my success in the Air Force Reserves. Having him as my very first Chief in the Reserves helped to shape my perception of the Reserves. I knew this could be a positive experience for me.

I have not yet encountered challenges related to diversity in my current role. However, I have in the past. The Air Force Reserves has placed more minorities into leadership roles which has helped to overcome some challenges. Even though there’s more work to do, I think there are systems and procedures in place that ensure the voices of African-Americans can be heard. I encourage us all to utilize those systems and procedures whenever faced with unwarranted challenges.

My advice for any Airman, African-American or otherwise, is to know what you would like to experience and achieve in the Air Force Reserves. Be intentional with your time. Serve with a purpose. Set goals. Find out what it takes to meet those goals and work hard to achieve them. Find a mentor or two that are at the level you’d like to achieve and learn from them. Learn from them the good and the bad.