Senior Airman Melissa Estevez --
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – Team Scott came together to celebrate their diverse cultures and backgrounds during the installation’s annual Spring Fling and Diversity Day event May 4.
For members of the 375th Air Mobility Wing, the morning consisted of group activities that were designed to build unit cohesion and “connectedness.”
One way they did that was by hosting a unit fitness competition that involved a two mile run sprinkled with various tasks along the route that incorporated strength, knowledge, and teamwork. Each team consisted of 10 members who varied in age, rank and gender from all groups within the wing.
Not only did teams learn about each other but three units walked away with additional money sponsored by the 375th Force Support Squadron that will go to unit morale activities.
The top three prizes went to:
1st Place: Team Awesome, made up of members of the 375th Air Mobility Wing Staff Agencies and the 375th Comptroller Squadron, with a time of 23:04.
Second Place: Team OSS is the Best, made up of members of the 375th Operations Support Squadron, with a time of 23:42.
Third Place: Team Cougars, made up of members of the 458th Airlift Squadron, with a time of 24:08.
As part of the fitness challenge, members wrote on their running bibs what diversity means to them or a little bit about themselves. Some of those messages included: “Diversity is worth celebrating; “We celebrate diversity by lifting each other up” and “I am a Wingman.”
Afterwards the running bibs were displayed on a board at the Scott Event Center as part of a larger effort to showcase individuals and units who sponsored a diversity booth at the event, such as the one from Senior Airman Andrea Aquino, 375th Medical Support Squadron.
“My booth featured my Filipino and Chamorro family that has served [or] are currently serving in the military. I displayed pictures, anecdotes, and told stories of more than a dozen family members.”
The Diversity Day efforts help to re-enforce the Air Force and Department of Defense messages that teach learning about an Airman’s social and cultural background helps enhance the capabilities of the military team overall.
Aquino said, “What I think Airmen can benefit from learning about other cultures is that it prepares them for a life outside of the U.S. If they are ever sent overseas or become deployed, they can have a greater understanding of a lifestyle that isn’t familiar. It also helps us to be empathetic and open-minded to those here on American soil who were raised with different cultural norms.”
Amy Uptergrove, 375th Air Mobility Wing community support coordinator, agreed and said, “When we celebrate the diversity of our backgrounds, culture, abilities, or talents, it creates a stronger Air Force team. It shows we take the time to learn about each other and it perhaps learn from it or comply with workplace accommodations. We have the military structure and mission to bind us together in one effort, so it’s vital to ensure we show respect and treat each other with dignity.”
In a statement made by Gen. David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, recruiting and retaining diverse Airmen also cultivates innovation.
“Like different aircraft and missions make up one Air Tasking Order, different people make the best teams when integrated purposefully together,” he said.
The day culminated with live music from Band of Mid‐America’s “Starlifter,” and a squadron slingshot contest, games and food options for families of Team Scott.
For Col. Leslie Maher, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, the event was an excellent example of how innovation and excellence is demonstrated on a daily basis.
“I couldn’t be happier with the great ideas that came from this amazing team of volunteers,” she said. “Everyone worked super hard to make sure the activities not only provided a fun day for our Team Scott families, but also showcased the talents and strengths that each person brings to the fight. It also highlighted the wing’s motto that ‘Together We Lift,’ and we do that by knowing, valuing and appreciating each other like we did during this outstanding event.”