Charles Q. Brown Jr. is a four-star general in the US Air Force who was appointed to Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force by the U.S. Senate on June 9, 2020; making him the first African-American military service chief. His appointment to the top post of the U.S. Air Force came amid the growing wave of protests across the United States and other countries sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black American man killed while in Minneapolis police custody.
Charles Quinton Brown Jr. was born in 1962 (age 58 years; as in 2020) in San Antonio, Texas. He attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock where he graduated from the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1984. In 1991, he attended U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and the next year, he attended Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB in Alabama. In 1994, he received a master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. In 1997, he became a distinguished graduate of Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. In 2000, Brown attended Air War College, Maxwell AFB in Alabama. In 2004, Charles Brown became the National Defense Fellow of Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Virginia. In 2008, he did Air Force Senior Leadership Course at Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, North Carolina. In 2012, Brown did the Joint Force Air Component Commander Course at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. In 2014, he did the Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. In 2015, Charles Brown did Pinnacle Course from National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C. In 2017, he completed Leadership at the Peak from Center for Creative Leadership, Colorado Springs.
Height (approx.): 6′
Hair Color: Bald
Eye Color: Black
Family & Ethnicity
Charles Brown belongs to an African-American family of San Antonio, Texas. He is married, and his family lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Charles Brown’s active military career began in 1985 when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Thereafter, he went on to serve various key positions in the US Air Force, such as the commander of Pacific Air Forces, air component commander for United States Indo-Pacific Command, executive director of the Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, deputy commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM), and Commander Air Forces Central.
On 9 June 2020, the U.S. Senate confirmed Charles Brown as the first African-American Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.
After Brown’s elevation to become the first black American as the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, Donald Trump tweeted,
My decision to appoint @usairforce General Charles Brown as the USA’s first-ever African American military service chief has now been approved by the Senate. A historic day for America! Excited to work even more closely with Gen. Brown, who is a Patriot and Great Leader!”
On August 4, 2020, he was sworn in as Chief of Staff of the Air Force in the Oval Office of the White House. President Donald Trump hosted the swearing-in of the first Black Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, while Vice President Mike Pence administered the oath of office to Brown. While praising Brown and calling the moment “special,” Trump said,
You’ve had an incredible career and this is a capper.”
- F-16 Pilot: 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, South Korea (April 1987 – October 1988)
- F-16 Instructor Pilot wing electronic combat officer, and wing standardization and evaluation flight examiner: 307th and 308th Tactical Fighter Squadrons, Homestead AFB, Florida (November 1988 – April 1991)
- F-16 Squadron Weapons Officer and Flight Commander: 307th Fighter Squadron, Homestead AFB, Florida (August 1991 – August 1992)
- Weapons School Instructor, and standardization and evaluation flight examiner: F-16 Division, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nevada (September 1992 – October 1994)
- Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of Staff: Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia (October 1994 – July 1996)
- Air Operations Officer: Current Operations Division, Operations Directorate, U.S. Central Command, MacDill AFB, Florida (September 1997 – November 1999)
- F-16CJ Instructor Pilot and assistant operations officer: 79th Fighter Squadron (November 1999 – June 2003)
- Weapons and Training Flight Commander: 20th Operations Support Squadron
- Operations Officer: 55th Fighter Squadron
- Commander: 78th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, South Carolina
- National Defense Fellow: Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Virginia (July 2003 – June 2004)
- Deputy Chief: Program Integration Division, Directorate of Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia (June 2004 – June 2005)
- Commandant: U.S. Air Force Weapons School, 57th Wing, Nellis AFB, Nevada (July 2005 – May 2007)
- Commander: 8th Fighter Wing, Kunsan AB, South Korea (May 2007 – May 2008)
- Director: Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff Executive Action Group, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Virginia (June 2008 – May 2009)
- Commander: 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano AB, Italy (June 2009 – April 2011)
- Deputy Director: Operations Directorate, U.S. Central Command, MacDill AFB, Florida (May 2011 – May 2013)
- Deputy Commander: U.S. Air Forces Central Command (May 2013 – February 2014)
- Director: Operations, Strategic Deterrence, and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa, Ramstein AB, Germany (March 2014 – June 2015)
- Commander: U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Air Combat Command, Southwest Asia (June 2015 – July 2016)
- Deputy Commander: U.S. Central Command, MacDill AFB, Florida (July 2016 – July 2018)
- Commander: Pacific Air Forces; Air Component Commander for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (Ju;y 2018 – June 2020)
- Chief of Staff: United States Air Force (June 2020 – present)
- Lieutenant General: June 29, 2015
- Major General: July 3, 2013
- Brigadier General: November 20, 2009
- Lieutenant Colonel: July 1, 1999
- Captain: February 28, 1989
- First Lieutenant: February 28, 1987
Awards & Decorations
- Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit (Samil Medal)
- Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
- Korea Defense Service Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- National Defense Service Medal with bronze star
- Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
- Defense Meritorious Service Medal
- Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters
- Defense Superior Service Medal
- Charles Brown is the first black American to become the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, and it also makes him the first African-American military service chief.
- In the Senate vote, which was 98-0, Vice President Mike Pence made an unusual appearance presiding over the Republican-led chamber.
- Although Brown’s appointment as the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force was seen as an appeasement tactic to mitigate the growing violent protests across the United States after George Floyd‘s death, President Trump had already announced Charles Brown to become the next Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force on March 2, 2020.
- Charles Brown succeeded David L. Goldfein to become the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.
- Before a few days of his confirmation vote, Charles Brown released an emotional and deeply moving video in which he shared his personal experience of racism. In the video that was posted on Twitter, Brown said,
I’m thinking about a history of racial issues and my own experiences that didn’t always sing of liberty. I’m thinking about wearing the same flight suit with the same wings on my chest as my peers and then being questioned by another military member: ‘Are you a pilot? I’m thinking about the pressure I felt to perform error-free, especially for supervisors I perceived had expected less of me as an African American. I’m thinking about having to represent by working twice as hard to prove their expectations and perceptions of African Americans were invalid.”
- As a command pilot, Charles Brown has an experience of more than 2,900 flying hours, including 130 combat hours.
- In September 2005, Air University Press published Charles Brown’s book titled – “Developing Doctrine for the Future Joint Force: Creating Synergy and Minimizing Seams.”
- Charles Brown has flown various aircraft, including F-16A/B/C/D and 15 additional fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.