No one should care what military pilots look like or who they love. Just give thanks for their service. Sadly, our military may be losing ground in rejecting irrational discrimination.
The United States is the beacon of freedom in a world fraught with slavery, racism, homophobia, tribalism, and all other human rights atrocities. This country has disrupted tyranny and hate for most of 225 years with the world’s finest military. That is why Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and other racist dictators have failed to rule the world.
No sane person cares about the ethnicity of the SEAL who shot Osama Bin Laden. The gun did not care. Neither did the bullet, the target, nor a world freed of the maniac.
Our military consistently grows stronger, smarter, and more sophisticated. Part of this involves inclusion. During most of the 20th century, girls did not dream of becoming fighter pilots. In the 21st, they pursue such dreams to the benefit of world peace.
Diversity expands the talent pool. A military that does not weigh traits immaterial to the mission — skin color, gender, sexual orientation, etc. — will find top pilots who are white, male, and heterosexual. Or, pilots who are none of the above.
The military should never care about the "identity" of someone who engineers bombs, captains ships, fires machine guns, or flies a plane. We need results or nothing else matters.
After generations of progress ensuring the U.S. finds and recruits the best — while increasingly rejecting irrelevant considerations — evidence indicates a relapse.
Consider how Lt. Gen. Marshall “Brad” Webb views a component the military uses in finding pilots. Private training has long been considered a beneficial credential among applicants for military aviation careers.
Someone who makes the sacrifice to obtain a pilot’s license as a child clearly has an acumen for the job and a portion of the training.
Webb — who heads the Air Force Education and Training Command — questions the Air Force practice of giving preference to prospects with private training. His rationale: too many white men learn to fly that way. Webb, a white male graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, learned to fly in the military.
“If you’re rich enough to afford to have private pilot time, you can get a license. That ought not be weighted in such a way that you exclude, you know, various ethnic groups,” Webb said, as quoted by Real Clear Politics and Fox News.
A decorated former combat pilot, Webb implies individuals who belong to “various ethnic groups” cannot obtain private flight training. The rich get to do this, which excludes too many minorities. So, maybe we should not value private training.
Tell it to William Moore, a young Black man in Maryland who recently earned his private pilot’s license before graduating high school. Like a lot of teenagers, Moore took lessons with financial assistance from the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals. Should he embark upon a military aviation career, he will have a good head start.
Pilots, retired pilots, and scores of organizations across the country are surprisingly eager to help young people fly. Children from every imaginable background work summer jobs to pay for flight lessons.
Colorado Skies Academy stands among dozens of the country's tuition-free charter schools that help teens — including those who are homeless — begin aviation careers.
In an article for Yahoo! News, Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, decries that white men comprise 86% of Air Force aviators. Given that whites are 73% of the U.S. population, Thomas raises a legitimate concern. After all, the ability to fly has no nexus with demographic identity. Therefore, military pilots would ideally resemble the country's population.
“We must be sure that we are attracting the most capable members of our society, from all races and walks of life,” Thomas said. “This fighting force should be highly capable while reflecting the diversity of the country.”
So true. An optimally capable force would reflect the country’s diversity. That is because it would tap appropriate talent that knows no ethnic or socioeconomic limits. A military career takes courage, skill, intelligence, education, and character — personal traits among people of all backgrounds.
The Pentagon should not expand diversity by discounting a skillset and credential important to flying. Instead, remove more economic obstacles to any young person seeking flight lessons. Do not discount the experiences of those perceived as too fortunate. Instead, elevate those less fortunate. Get more individuals, regardless of ethnic branding by white people, interested in private flight lessons and careers defending this country. Build good people up. Tear none down because of their lineage.
Adversaries of freedom — i.e. China, North Korea, Russia, and more — should hope the U.S. military staffs directly or indirectly on a basis of ethnic considerations. To do so, the country would certainly eliminate some of its greatest prospects. The U.S. might devalue highly relevant credentials (private flight experience, perhaps) to reduce the numbers of a specified ethnic group. Our foes must laugh at our naivety.
Humanity is not a dog show arranged by breeds. We are all one human race in a battle of good versus evil. An individual’s potential contributions to freedom have no legitimate link to society’s obsession with superficial identity factors. Private pilots know how to fly, regardless of skin tone. Their experience should count. Their identity should not be heterosexual, homosexual, red, yellow, Black, brown, or white. It should be "pilot."