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Equal Opportunity for Prime BEEF and RED HORSE

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Enjoli Saunders
  • 379th AEW/PA

The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Equal Opportunity office visited with civil engineers currently forward deployed here, Sept. 10-13.


The EO office embedded with the1st Expeditionary Civil Engineering Group assigned to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, in an effort to foster positive human relations environments across squadrons, groups and wings.


 “Our goal is to determine the climate of a unit and be able to advise the commander on how to create or continue producing positive working environments,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Ford, 379th AEW Equal Opportunity noncommissioned officer in charge. “We are trying to change the perception of EO. We want to eradicate the view that we are the police and you shouldn’t talk to us.”


Col. David Novy, 1st ECEG commander, requested EO to come and speak with their squadron members being they consistently travel across the central command’s area of responsibility to build and maintain structures that directly impact mission capabilities. Novy wanted to ensure his squadrons were afforded the same services at forward operating bases as they would receive at a home station.


“As leaders we owe it to our Airmen to develop a positive working environment for all our personnel,” said Novy. “We are fortunate in the 1st ECEG to have tremendous support from all the helping agencies in the 379th AEW, especially from Equal Opportunity.”


This will be the first time since 2013 that EO has embedded with the 1st ECEG. During the visit, Ford conduced one-on-one interviews and assessed the squadrons work environment. He is also scheduled to visit other remote locations to include Kuwait and Afghanistan.


“Conducting these interviews or out and about assessments will allow us to reach as many service members as possible and get their voices heard,” said Ford. “I aim to get unfiltered information, whether negative or positive.”


According to Ford, this embed will provide an avenue for the Airmen to express their thoughts, concerns or issues in a safe environment without fear of rank or repercussions. Many Airmen are unaware that EO is a resource that can be utilized to address issues or concerns about a potential hostile work environment.


“There’s a lot of people going through something right now that want to speak but don’t feel like they have a voice because of rank, both male and female,” said Senior Airman Christopher Branch, structural journeyman, 577th Prime BEEF squadron. “I think this face-to-face interaction is good, they should start doing this more. I like it! Thank you to Staff Sgt. Ford for coming out to talk with us.”


This is Branch’s second deployment and stated that this is the first time that EO has come out to a worksite to speak with him.


According to Ford, face-to-face contact is the key to making an impact and fostering a healthy work environment.


“Anyone can send mass emails or have an open-door policy, but it’s having one-on-one human contact that’s going to make an impact,” said Ford. “Sometimes we get lost in the everyday work requirements that we lose sight of the bigger picture, which is ensuring the health and welfare of our Airmen. This embed allows me to provide accurate evaluations of the squadron climate to do that.”