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Seamans Jr., Robert C. "Air Force Policy: Secretary of the Air Force." Commander's Digest. Vol. 12, no. 2. Washington, D.C. GPO, May 18, 1972. P. 10.

SuDoc No.: D2.15/2

Insert abstract here....


Air Force Policy: Secretary of the Air Force

Robert C. Seamans Jr.

  • Equal opportunity is an absolutely top-priority matter as far as the Air Force is concerned.

  • To emphasize the point, we are judging our senior people in the Air Force – for example, our base commanders – on whether or not they are really doing what needs to be done to eliminate discrimination.

  • I would say from my travels around this country and to our bases overseas that the racial problem is deep-rooted and it is one that we all must work on. And any Air Force commander who doesn't understand this isn't really doing his job.

  • There isn't any question that over the years there really has not been equal opportunity, and you can see in certain parts of our country, both North and South, where blacks and other minorities have not had the educational opportunities that whites have had. They have not had the health benefits, the housing opportunities... They really have not had the same chance that others have had. Our job now is to see that, in the Air Force, they do have these opportunities.

  • One of the major causes of racial problems is lack of communication. Communication is absolutely essential, and it must start at the top. For example, in the Air Force, it must start here in my office and in [Air Force Chief of Staff] General [John D.] Ryan's office. And it must proceed through our principal personnel people, right down to the base commander.

  • Improving communication... is not just a question of listening, it is a question of taking positive action.

  • I think that the worst thing you can do is try to bottle up racial problems and not talk about them. The best thing you can do – uncomfortable as it may be from time-to-time – is for the base commander, the social action officer, the senior people, to sit down and really listen to what people are saying on these bases about the problems that they face – or that they think they face.

  • Even though, as I said at the start, we have still got a serious problem and we haven't achieved the goal that we want, I think we have made a lot of progress.
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