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Reservists: front line of diversity



Published: Sun, February 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Air Force personnel should celebrate their different heritages, the chief master sergeant said.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

VIENNA -- Members of the 910th Airlift Wing Air Force Reserve Command celebrated the start of Black History Month here Saturday with inspirational words from the first black female selected as command chief of a major command.

Chief Master Sgt. Cheryl D. Adams is the third command chief the Air Force Reserves has had since the inception of the senior enlisted position in 1997.

As command chief master sergeant, Adams advises Reserves commander Lt. Gen. James E. Sherrard III on matters influencing the health, morale, welfare and effective utilization of more than 70,000 active duty personnel and reserves.

She also serves as the commander's representative to numerous committees, councils, boards and functions.

Question: In addressing the audience at the Air Reserve Station, Adams asked if it is possible to achieve the dream of diversity in the ranks of the military, celebrate the differences between service men and women and appreciate the different heritages that make up the collective body of those in uniform.

The resounding answer from Adams and several in the audience was simply "Yes, we can."

"The focus is on the middle word 'we,'" she said. "The only way we are a strong air force is if we do it together."

Adams used the analogy of kids from diverse backgrounds playing together in a school yard until someone comes along and points out the differences, causing a rift between the once-happy youngsters.

She said incoming military personnel can be likened to the happy kids until differences drive them apart. In the end, however, they all find working together to be better than being at odds, she said.

The Air Force Reserve, said Adams, is leading the way toward that dream of diversity and harmony in all areas with various organizations dedicated to fairness and diversity.

Adams assumed her current role last February and says it falls in line with her dream of being successful at whatever she does.

She said young people looking to reach what may seem unattainable goals should not let any barriers stand in the way. She said it is important to find good role models of any race, ethnicity or background.

Historical figures: Adams was not the only "guest."

Local reservists put on personality portrayals of important historical figures such as Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson and Tina Turner. There was also inspirational singing by the Community Fellowship Chapel Choir of Akron and gospel rapper Greg Shepard of Buffalo.

After the observance, U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. of Poland, D-17th, cut the ribbon on a new de-icing pad at the base.

Planes can be de-iced in winter using a special solution, eliminating extra hangar time for warming.




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