General Charles Q. Brown

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Change of Command Ceremony Address

delivered 6 August 2020, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Audio AR-XE mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

I'm -- I'm simply in awe today. The -- This backdrop behind me, and when the Color Guard started marching in, I realized this is for real. I'm in awe that I'm even standing here as the 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff, considering I'd only planned to stay in the Air Force four years, and almost quit the ROTC after the first semester. Yet, here I am: in a position I never thought imaginable.

To our congressional and Department of Defense leadership, our many distinguished guests, family, friends, joint and coalition partners, and men and women of the United States Air Force: Good morning.

Before going any further, Sharene and I would like to express our gratitude. There are so many that have played a role throughout our Air Force journey, in our transition back to the national capital region, and in today's ceremony. We very much appreciate all you've done and will continue to do.

With each leadership opportunity I've had during my Air Force career, I've been extremely honored, blessed, and proud. Today is no exception. I'm honored by your presence day, in person and virtually.

This is a special day for the Browns, for the Goldfeins, and for our Air Force. We're honored that you'd take the time to celebrate with us today. I'm honored by the trust and confidence shown by the President, the Vice President, the Senate, Secretary Esper, Secretary Barrett, General Milley, and General Goldfein, in the abilities of me and Sharene, to lead and advocate for our Air Force, our airmen, and their families.

Outgoing Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein speaks during the CSAF Transfer of Responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Aug. 6, 2020. Goldfein served as the 21st chief of staff from 2016-2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Trujillo)

I'm honored that Sharene and I are able to follow our friends Dawn and Dave Goldfein as an ex-Chief of Staff team. And we appreciate all you've done for our Air Force and to get us ready.

Finally, I am honored to continue working with senior leaders from across our Air Force, our joint team, and our allies and partners.

Once again, I've been blessed with the opportunity well beyond my own expectations.

I've been blessed with the love and support of family. I've been blessed by Sharene's family who didn't object -- as far as I know -- when I asked Sharene to marry me.

Before Sharene, I was blessed by my family that provided me the right home training before I started my Air Force training. My number one fan and most vocal supporter, my mom, who, oddly enough, has a fear of flying; my commissioning officer, and the most [integral] mentor in my career, my dad. His wise counsel over the years, to include convincing me not to quit ROTC after the first semester, has been instrumental in my success.

I've been blessed by the unwavering support of my sister Stephanie; and to carry with me the influence of my younger brother, Kevin. I'm blessed by the many uncles, aunts, cousins, and close friends, who have been impactful in my upbringing and development as an officer and a leader.

Sharene Brown, spouse of incoming Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., presents the official Air Force Chief of Staff service cap to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown during the CSAF transition ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Aug. 6, 2020. Brown is the 22nd Chief of Staff of the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad Trujillo)

Finally, and most importantly, I've been blessed to have Sharene by my side and the support of our sons, Sean and Ross.

Sharene Brown, spouse of U.S. Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) commander, and Stephanie Johnson, spouse of Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Johnson, PACAF command chief, listen to a briefing during the PACAF commander's visit at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 22, 2018. PACAF spouses visited Kadena Air Base to learn about the base's mission, operations and readiness programs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Naoto Anazawa)

Sharene had different plans before marrying me. She has since committed so much to our family and become a strong advocate for military families. As a result [of] Sharene's commitment and advocacy, Sean and Ross are both accomplished in their own right. Sharene, Sean, and Ross: Your encouragement, love, and support for me, and each other, has been the cornerstone of our family and instrumental to all of our successes.

As I address you today, know that I am proud, proud to follow extraordinary leaders of our Air Force -- chiefs of staff from [General Carl A.] Spaatz to [General Ronald R.] Fogelman, who I had the opportunity to serve [with] as his aide; and to [General David L.] Goldfein -- who have led our Air Force through Cold War competition and deterrence, through conflicts around the world, and through challenging budget cycles and tough decisions.

I'm proud, yet humbled, to be the Chief of Staff [#] 22 [and] very much appreciate the outpouring of support leading up to today's ceremony.

Incoming Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. speaks during the CSAF Transfer of Responsibility ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Aug. 6, 2020. Brown is the 22nd Chief of Staff of the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

This is a very historic day for our nation, and I do not take this moment lightly. Today is possible due to the perseverance of those who went before me, serving as an inspiration to me and so many others -- those like Tuskegee Airman Benjamin O. Davis Jr., "Chappie" James, Charles McGee; African-American leaders across our Air Force and our military, past and present, to include today's special guest, Mr. Ed Dwight, America's first African-American astronaut candidate. And I had the pleasure meeting you yesterday, and...a great opportunity, and you're quite an inspiration and I appreciate you being here today. It is due to their trials and tribulations in breaking barriers that I can address you today as the Air Force Chief of Staff.

To the men and women of the United States Air Force and their families: I'm excited to serve as your Chief of Staff. Building on General Goldfein's three focus areas,1 I am committed to addressing today's challenges while preparing for the future so we can better compete, deter, and win.

To do so, we must -- we must no longer defer but must accelerate the needed change and tough choices we've often discussed. We must develop and empower leaders and provide quality of service and quality of life where our airman and families can reach their full potential.

No doubt that there are challenges ahead that will be difficult but not impossible. I look forward to working with the Joint Chiefs,
providing our best military advice to address challenges the Joint Force faces today and will face in the future.

Change will require [cooperation/collaboration] with key stakeholders, and take leadership at all levels. You can expect my leadership to be framed by the same four tenants I've used throughout my career: [1] execute at a high standard; [2] be [disciplined] in execution; [3] pay attention to details; and [4] have fun. Working together and accelerating change, I'm confident that our Air Force can continue to be the -- the most dominant and respected Air Force in the world

In closing, I'm extremely honored, blessed, and proud of this tremendous privilege to serve as the 22nd Chief of Staff in the United States Air Force. Thank you so much for joining us today, for today's ceremony -- and God bless.

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008))

1 Originally identified as 1) revitalizing squadrons, 2) strengthening joint leaders and teams, and 3) advancing multi-domain command and control the focus areas were subsequently updated to include restoring readiness and driving innovation, and, removing barriers to success [Source:]

See also: San Antonio Express Feature on General Brown

Original Text (close captioned), Audio, VIdeo, Images (#1, #2, #4) Source:

Original Image of Sharene Brown at Kadina Airbase

Audio Note: AR-XE = American Rhetoric Extreme Enhancement

Video Note: The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Page Updated: 8/8/20

U.S. Copyright Status: This text and audio = Property of Video and Images = Public domain (with use subject to these terms).

Top 100 American Speeches

Online Speech Bank

Movie Speeches

Copyright 2001-Present. 
American Rhetoric.
HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.