US Senate confirms first African-American head of a military branch

Washington DC, June 9 (efe-epa).- The United States Senate on Tuesday confirmed General Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the new Air Force chief of staff, making him the first African-American in history to lead one of the military service branches of the country.

Brown Jr. was confirmed for the post in a unanimous 98-0 vote in the Senate, which was presided over by US Vice President Mike Pence, who normally casts a ballot only to break a tie.

“Today is a Historic Day for our Nation,” Pence tweeted after the confirmation of Brown Jr., who had been nominated for the post by US President Donald Trump.

A few days ago, the general shared a video on social media describing the challenges he had faced as an African-American in the Armed Forces and touched on the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, which sparked protests across the country.

“Here’s what I’m thinking about: I’m thinking about how full I am with emotion — not just for George Floyd, but the many African Americans that have suffered the same fate as George Floyd,” he said in the video.

“I’m thinking about a history of racial issues and my own experiences that didn’t always sing of liberty and equality. I’m thinking about living in two worlds, each with their own perspective and views,” added the pilot from Texas who until now was commander of the US Pacific Air Forces.

Brown Jr. described a career in the Air Force in which he was often the only African-American in his squadron and the only one in the room as a senior officer.

“I’m thinking about wearing the same flight suit with the same wings on my chest as my peers and being questioned by another military member: ‘Are you a pilot?’” he said.

“I’m thinking about the pressure I felt to perform error-free, especially for supervisors I perceived had expected less from me as an African-American. I’m thinking about having to represent by working twice as hard to prove their expectations and perceptions of African Americans were invalid.”

After Brown Jr.’s confirmation, Trump tweeted that he was “excited to work even more closely with Gen. Brown, who is a Patriot and Great Leader!” EFE-EPA


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