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45th SW commander addresses EOAC 15-3 graduation

Brig. Gen. Wayne R. Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander, speaks to members of Class 15-3 while giving the graduation speech for the final Equal Opportunity Advisors Course of 2015 at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute  at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Joining Monteith in the official party on stage for the Class 15-3 ceremony from DEOMI were (left to right) Commander Yolanda K. Mason, Acting Commandant, Dr. Jose Bolton, Dean of Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity and Chief Master Sgt. Boston Alexander, Senior Enlisted Advisor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Benjamin Thacker/Released)

Brig. Gen. Wayne R. Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander, speaks to members of Class 15-3 while giving the graduation speech for the final Equal Opportunity Advisors Course of 2015 at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Joining Monteith in the official party on stage for the Class 15-3 ceremony from DEOMI were (left to right) Commander Yolanda K. Mason, Acting Commandant, Dr. Jose Bolton, Dean of Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity and Chief Master Sgt. Boston Alexander, Senior Enlisted Advisor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Benjamin Thacker/Released)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Brig. Gen. Wayne R. Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander, took little time in foot-stomping the benefits of a diverse Department of Defense workforce while giving the graduation speech for the final Equal Opportunity Advisors Course of 2015 at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute here.

"You are entrusted with creating dialogue that daily combats adversity in the workplace," he said. "You will continue to deal with people with mixed backgrounds and experiences. You will be challenged to think and act differently than before.

"Because your goal is to advance Equal Opportunity and diversity," he added.

"Just as each service inherently brings something unique to the fight, each individual brings a unique perspective, a unique background, and unique ideas," he told the 81 Joint-Service graduates in the DEOMI auditorium.

While never losing eye contact with his audience, he then went into detail what those unique assets bring to the fight.

"Diversity enhances creativity, igniting innovation and boosting performance, and diversity allows for problems to be solved through differences in perspectives," he said. "And to quote Stephen Covey, 'strength lies in our differences, not in our similarities," he told the members of Class 15-3.

Joining Monteith in the official party on stage for the Class 15-3 ceremony from DEOMI were Commander Yolanda K. Mason, Acting Commandant, Dr. Jose Bolton, Dean of Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity and Chief Master Sgt. Boston Alexander, Senior Enlisted Advisor.

As he closed, Monteith also made it abundantly clear that "there is still a long way to go."

"Many people -- inside and outside the service -- hold views or prejudices against others based on race, sex, religion, national origin and sexual orientation. "Bias - or prejudice -- can be intentional, or unintentional, but it really doesn't matter," he said. "The effect is the same, the damage is the same. Fighting forces become weaker, and we create mistrust and destroy unit cohesion."

He then laid down one final directive.

"As Equal Opportunity Advisors, you will be the 'change agents' who will educate for equitable treatment for everyone. "You have the responsibility to speak the truth in the face of adversity and injustice. Because this team - our team - only succeeds when we all foster an environment, a climate, of respect," he said.

Editor's Note: The EOAC provides an 11-week resident, student-centered approach to train Service EO professionals. The EOAC is divided into three distinct areas of training: seven weeks of core curriculum, one week of Mediation training, and three weeks of Service Specific training. The target audience is Military and DOD civilian personnel who serve as advisors to Commanders on Military Equal Opportunity matters. For more information call (321) 494-6208 or email deomipa@us.af.mil