Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, Accessibility team build foundation of trust for the Pack

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shannon Braaten, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

KUNSAN AIR BASE, REPUBLIC OF KOREA – The Wolf Pack welcomed Pacific Air Forces Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Mr. Anthony Cruz Unoz at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 5-6, 2023. During his visit, Unoz met with Airmen and wing leaders, including the leaders of Kunsan’s own Diversity, Equality, Inclusion & Accessibility program. 

In line with President Joe Biden’s executive order to further advance equity within the federal government, Master Sgt. Darren Pickler, was recently appointed 8 FW DEIA program manager. He hopes that the program will offer clarity and invite Airmen around the Wolf Pack to voice their concerns.

"Too many good Airmen get out because they didn't have a voice or their voice wasn't heard,” said Pickler. “This program hopes to change that.”

Pickler is assisted in his new duties by his superior, Capt. Karla “Teen Wolf” Savana, 8 FW director of staff and Master Sgt. Jonathan St. Sauver, 8th Maintenance Squadron maintenance production manager, who serves as his alternate, sharing opinions and assisting with DEIA duties that will aid Airmen. 

For Unoz’s visit, they arranged group training sessions and a Leading Inclusively Virtual Experience training where individuals tackled scenarios and discussed conflict solutions as a team. The trainings dynamic scenarios aimed to empower Airmen to practice cognitive skills in a supportive environment, such as emotional intelligence, empathetic listening, and critical communication..

“The worst thing we can do as leaders, as a unit, or as a species is make decisions in a vacuum,” said Pickler. “When we do that, we might miss that key parts that Airmen have to offer.”

Although still in its early stages, Pickler and his teammates are hopeful that they will create something that helps all members of the Wolf Pack and provides education opportunities at all levels.

“There's a lot of information out there, both good and bad,” said Pickler. “It's our job to hopefully create something that helps everyone get on the same terms.”

While the newly appointed DEIA team is just getting started, they have a clear goal to identify opportunities to help create a more inclusive Air Force culture.

“I want them [the Airmen] to take away the fact that their leadership cares. and that we're trying to make a force that's changing because we do have the most diverse force in the world and I don't think everybody sees that until we educate people and teach them it's okay to be different,” said St. Sauver. “You shouldn’t have to hide because you're different. Show us what you have to offer.”