The 100 Most Influential People of 2020
Kevin Dietsch—Pool/AP
By Heather Wilson
September 22, 2020 9:34 PM EDT

On Aug. 6, the day he made history by becoming the nation’s first Black chief of a military service, General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. made sure that proper attention was given to service members who never got the chance for career advancement simply because of the color of their skin. “It is due to their trials and tribulations in breaking barriers that I can address you today as the Air Force chief of staff,” Brown said after being sworn in. The smiles on the faces of the surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-Black unit of fighter pilots in World War II, were matched only by those of the 19-year-olds who now know the sky’s not the limit in today’s Air Force.

He is a respected warfighter who will serve America well. As the former commander of Pacific Air Forces, he’s highly qualified to deter China and reassure allies in the Indo-Pacific. The suppression of ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria was largely accomplished by local forces on the ground, enabled by air power CQ helped orchestrate.

CQ has opened doors throughout his career and made sure that they have stayed open for those who follow.

Meeting the challenges of this time will require visionary leadership. CQ has become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff through competence and character. It’s a model worth following.

Wilson is president of the University of Texas at El Paso and a former Secretary of the Air Force

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