Charles Brown, who is the first African-American U.S. Pacific Air Forces Commander and well-versed on Korean issues, has been nominated as the U.S. Air Force’s 22nd chief of staff on Monday local time. The U.S. Department of Defense said Brown is “deeply familiar with the Korean Peninsula and Asia, and devising policies and tactics that guarantee mission success in an increasingly complex and dangerous part of the world.”
Brown graduated from Texas Tech University in 1984 with a degree in civil engineering and commissioned through the school’s ROTC program. He is an F-16 pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours, including 130 combat hours.
During his 35-year career, he served twice in South Korea for a total of two and a half years. He was stationed at the 35th tactical Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base as a first lieutenant between April 1987 and October 1988, and then again from May 2007 to May 2008 as a captain of the 8th Fighter Wing. Brown earned the Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit (Samil Medal) for his contribution to national security.
Brown is the first African-American to be nominated as the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. Before him, Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State, was the only African-American to sit on the elite Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to The New York Times. The U.S. Defense Department said Brown will take the place of Gen. David L. Goldfein, who is retiring on June 30.