Charles Quinton Brown Jr. (born 1962) is a United States Air Force four-star general who serves as the 22nd chief of staff of the Air Force. He is the first African American to be appointed as chief of staff and the first African American to lead any branch of the United States Armed Forces. Brown assumed office from Gen. David L. Goldfein, who had served as chief of staff since 2016, in a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews on 6 August 2020.
Charles Q. Brown Jr.
|Born||1962 (age 59–60)|
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Service/||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1985–present|
|Commands held||Chief of Staff of the Air Force|
Pacific Air Forces
United States Air Forces Central Command
31st Fighter Wing
8th Fighter Wing
USAF Weapons School
78th Fighter Squadron
|Awards||Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)|
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (4)
Brown's previous assignments include serving as the commander of Pacific Air Forces, air component commander for United States Indo-Pacific Command, and executive director of the Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff. As the air component commander for CENTCOM, he was responsible for developing contingency plans and conducting air operations in a 20-nation area covering Central and Southwest Asia. Brown also previously served as the deputy commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM), MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, and prior to that, as commander of Air Forces Central.
In 2020, Brown was named by Time magazine on its list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Charles Quinton Brown Jr. was born in 1962 to a military family in San Antonio, Texas. Brown was nicknamed "CQ". He had one sister. His father, Charles Q. Brown. Sr, served for 30 years in the Army, rising to the rank of colonel. His paternal grandfather, Robert E. Brown, was drafted in World War II and served in the Pacific Theater in Hawaii and Saipan.
Brown was also a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant after completing this ROTC program and began his formal military career.
Brown has served in a variety of positions at the squadron and wing level, including an assignment to the United States Air Force Weapons School as an F-16 instructor. His notable staff tours include aide-de-camp to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force; director, Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff Executive Action Group; and deputy director, operations, U.S. Central Command. He also served as a national defense fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Virginia.
Brown has commanded a fighter squadron, the United States Air Force Weapons School, and two fighter wings. One was the 8th Fighter Wing, which was nicknamed as "Wolf Pack", at Kunsan Air Force Base, South Korea. Prior to his current assignment, he served as director, operations, strategic deterrence, and nuclear integration, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe—Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He is a command pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours, including 130 combat hours.
Brown's career as a general officer began when he was appointed as commander of the 31st Fighter wing in Aviano Air Force Base, Italy. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in June 2009. In May 2013, Brown was promoted to the rank of major general when he was appointed as deputy commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, U.S. Central Command. In March 2014 he was appointed as director of operations, strategic deterrence, and nuclear integration of U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa at Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany.
In June 2015, Brown received his third star when he was appointed as United States Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT). In July 2016 he was appointed as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. As AFCENT commander, Brown oversaw all of Air Force operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, while also in-charge as second-in-command of USCENTCOM.
In July 2018, Brown was nominated to succeed General Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy as commander of Pacific Air Forces. O'Shaughnessy was nominated to become commander of the United States Northern Command. Brown was also promoted to four-star general with this position. As PACAF commander, General Brown oversaw all of major United States Air Force operations within the Indo-Pacific region.
On 2 March 2020, the White House announced that President Donald Trump would nominate Brown to become the next Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, succeeding David L. Goldfein. On 9 June 2020, Brown was unanimously confirmed (98–0) by the United States Senate to succeed Goldfein as Chief of Staff of the US Air Force. With this confirmation he became the first African American to lead a branch of the United States Armed Forces. As Air Force Chief of Staff, he advises the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council regarding Air Force matters.
Brown is the most senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for organizing, training and equipping all of the active-duty Air Force officers, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.
Brown has acted to establish a flexible logistics system in the Air Force's budget for Fiscal year 2021, in order to ensure the Air Force is capable of conducting "expeditionary logistics under attack".
Brown has maintained Goldfein's prioritization of multi-domain command and control following the Air Force Association's 2016 Air, Space & Cyber Conference. Following the establishment of the United States Space Force, which is also part of the Department of the Air Force, Brown worked closely with the first Chief of Space Operations General Jay Raymond. Brown has said that the Space Force will make up much of the Air Force department's "near-term innovation and development". He has emphasized the importance of space superiority and committed to a full collaboration between the Air Force and Space Force.
As Air Force Chief of Staff, Brown began integration of the new tanker aircraft, Boeing KC-46 Pegasus, as part of Air Force fleet rejuvenation, and began its operation within Air Mobility Command. Brown and several Congressional delegation members, including U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a longtime advocate for the tanker, participated in a demonstration flight at Joint Base Andrews.
General Brown was featured during the 2021 African-American History Month for making history as the first African-American military chief of staff and the first African American who has led any military branch within the United States Armed Forces. General Lloyd Austin, the first African American to serve as a United States Secretary of Defense, was also featured. Brown was made an honorary Tuskegee Airman, receiving the symbolic red jacket in a ceremony on 14 August 2021.
Rating: Command pilot.
Flight hours: more than 2,900, including 130 combat hours.
Aircraft flown: F-16A/B/C/D, AC-130U, AH-64, AT-38, B-1B, B-2A, B-52H, C-130J, E-8C, HH-60G, KC-135, MV-22, T-37, T-38 and two more fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft.
Brown has received the following awards and decorations:
|General||July 26, 2018|
|Lieutenant general||June 29, 2015|
|Major general||July 3, 2013|
|Brigadier general||Nov. 20, 2009|
|Colonel||June 1, 2005|
|Lieutenant colonel||July 1, 1999|
|Major||Aug. 1, 1996|
|Captain||Feb. 28, 1989|
|First lieutenant||Feb. 28, 1987|
|Second lieutenant||Feb. 28, 1985|
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