Reading Resources

Reaching BackIs there still a glass ceiling in the United States Armed Forces? Ever wonder why some people are promoted and others are not, yet their backgrounds, their experience and accomplishments are similar? Are people of color equally likely to get promoted on active duty as their colleagues who are not of color? Although we Americans have made progress in this country in achieving equal rights for all, much more work still needs to be done. Colonel (retired) Charlie Johnson is only the 3rd African-American female to be promoted to full colonel on active duty in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGC) in the Air Force’s entire 67+ year history. Furthermore, there has never been a General Officer of color in the USAF JAG Corps. This is unsatisfactory. Before retiring from the JAG Corps in 2010, Col Johnson promised to “reach back” and help junior military members whom she had mentored while on active duty. In Reaching Back, she recounts that the obstacles on the path to promotion are many, varied and sometimes hidden to the unaware member. She identifies the “turbulent waters” she encountered, which may surprise some and shock others. More importantly, she provides critical counsel on how to navigate through these turbulent waters, successfully. The counsel Col Johnson shares will not only help junior military professionals, but any junior professional who is entering the workplace and is confronted by the “ugliness and darkness” that exists in this world.

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