The US Senate confirmed General Charles Brown as Air Force chief of staff, the first African American to ever lead one of the Pentagon’s six-armed services.
Brown, 57, currently commander of the Pacific Air Forces, will become solely the second African American to ever serve on the powerful Joint Chiefs of Staff, after former Joint Chiefs chair Colin Powell during 1989-1993.
His confirmation, in a unanimous 98-0 vote in the Senate, comes as demonstrations continue throughout the country over racism and mistreatment of blacks in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis policeman.
President Donald Trump cheered the confirmation in a tweet.
“A historic day for America! Excited to work even more closely with Gen. Brown, who is a Patriot and Great Leader!” he wrote.
Brown most recently served as the commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces. He is a fighter pilot, with more than 2,900 flying hours, including 130 in combat.
He posted a video on social media Friday describing a lifetime of dealing with racial bias and the struggle to fit in to a predominantly white society.
“I’m thinking about my Air Force career where I was often the only African American in my squadron or, as a senior officer, the only African American in the room,” he said in a raw tone. “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?’”