RAF MILDENHALL, England --
People may assume there is a problem when they hear that the 100th Air Refueling Wing Equal Opportunity office is coming to their squadron. What those people may not know is the EO office at RAF Mildenhall are more proactive than they think.
The Equal Opportunity office seeks to eliminate unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment against military members, dependents and retirees based on race, color, sex, national origin or religion through education and training.
The EO office hosts a variety of training events within every squadron from the Four Lenses program to collaborative activities such as the ‘12 Initiatives’ class with the RAF Mildenhall Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team.
“We try to do commander calls, we do professional development courses; anything that you want to request for your squadron,” said Master Sgt. Shanique Rosario, 100th ARW Equal Opportunity director. “For those who feel there is a need in their office or squadron for a specific training, we can cover it.”
The Equal Opportunity office gives Airmen the chance to learn about themselves with the Four Lenses program, which in turn gives them the opportunity to learn about others. They offer a variety of conflict resolution training and meditation courses, however the Four Lenses is the foundation for most training. Having the most basic understanding of the people involved in the conflict allows the mediator a foundation to better learn how to break down the walls of conflict.
One of the available courses is a personality test which gives the individuals a chance to see who they are most associated with, based off their personality, to see how they would handle assumed conflict and better motivate each other. The training identifies each personality and builds a cohesive team through a variety of exercises, such as creating an anti-drug campaign where the matched personalities create an advertisement designed for their opposite personalities. The goal is to build comradery and understanding among the participants.
“Most of the time it helps to know the ‘color’ of the person, to know how that person is thinking,” Rosario said. “For example, someone who is ‘green’ will need more factual information to relate to a situation. Compared to interacting with someone who is a ‘gold’, when it comes to work all I have to do is keep a gold engaged. We’ll give them this benefit and as long as it sounds good to them they will be more willing to follow along.”
A participant in the Four Lenses training, Staff Sgt. Travis Weaver, 100th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance craftsman, agreed.
“The good thing about this class is you learn what people like and how to better understand them overall,” Weaver said. “I learned for myself that my stronger personality traits can change over time.”
Another benefit of the EO office is the training and resolution skills they offer Team Mildenhall active-duty members and civilians. Both have access to a variety of training such as toxic work-environment training and alternate dispute resolution.
“There is a negative connotation to the EO office, the only time I’ve seen the EO office is when there is a problem,” said Staff Sgt. Branden Newman, 100th Maintenance squadron aircraft structural maintenance craftsman. “I didn’t know that this training and mediation existed, I can see how that can be really beneficial to people”
Weaver agreed that the benefits of the EO office extended to his job as a supervisor.
“There could be issues that come up where one of my troops could have crossed a line, and now I need an outside source,” Weaver said. “The EO office could be that outside help.”
Equal Opportunity handles a variety of specialty training and can design specific training for any squadron. It can also help to create a better work environment and build together as a unit.
“You really do need the Equal Opportunity office, you just don’t know that you need us,” Rosario said.