AFMAO celebrates diversity during wingman day

  • Published
  • By Christin Michaud
  • AFMAO Public Affairs
Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations personnel paused to celebrate diversity during Wingman Day Oct. 23, 2014 at the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

Air Force diversity includes a variety of factors ranging from personal life experiences and philosophical/spiritual perspectives to race and gender.
The men and women who support the mortuary mission are a range of active-duty, Reserve and Guard personnel from all branches of the service as well as civilians who collectively care for the nation's fallen. The men and women also vary in age, race and gender.

The day's events kicked off with a fun run.

The number one purpose of wingman day is to get to know each other better, explained Col. Dan Merry, AFMAO commander.

"Everybody is different, and everybody is motivated by different things," he said. "We have to know if the quiet person is being even quieter," he said.

The commander also shared something he learned from Chief Master Sergeant Jack Johnson Jr., about diversity. Johnson, currently the senior enlisted leader for Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia would say, "We have to get better at mentoring people who do not look like us."

"We are stronger by all the differences we bring to the table," said Merry.

To celebrate their differences, the AFMAO team participated in team-building activities and classes focused on diversity including a taste around the world themed lunch.

The round-robin Get to Know Your Wingman allowed people to learn more about one another and make a connection. The Military and Family Life Consultant and mental health team focused on how diversity can help people achieve their goals. The chaplain team explored the topic of religious tolerance in a politically correct Air Force.

"The greatest strength of our Air Force is our Airmen," said Gen. Mark A. Welsh. Air Force Chief of Staff. "The greatest strength of our Airmen is their diversity! Each of them comes from a different background, a different family experience and a different social experience. Each brings a different set of skills and a unique perspective to the team. We don't just celebrate diversity ... we embrace it!"

In an effort to address the different styles among the generations, Friends of the Fallen volunteer Brigitte Gavas presented a session on bridging the generation gap. 

"Diversity brings strength," said Chief Master Sgt. Rabin Ramsook, AFMAO's chief enlisted manager. "As a force, we need to capitalize on those strengths."