U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Anthony Hetlage
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Anthony Hetlage

Keeping the Pack Strong: Your Equal Opportunity Office

by Staff Sgt. Anthony Hetlage
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Editor’s Note: This is the sixth article in a series designed to highlight helping agencies and resiliency at Kunsan Air Base.

Equal Opportunity is a helping agency with a mission to promote an environment free from personal, social or institutional barriers that could prevent Air Force members and civilians from rising to their highest potential.

The 8th Fighter Wing EO office supports more than 2,500 Wolf Pack members, both military and civilian. They ensure each service member is treated fairly, regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, genetic information, disability, or prior equal employment opportunity activity.

“We are subject matter experts in helping individuals understand harassment, as well as counselors to military and civilian complaints of unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment,” said Master Sgt. Megan Smith, 8th FW Equal Opportunity director. “We are also here to listen to individuals who may have concerns, and we can help facilitate a resolution through the use of mediation and facilitation.”

EO works directly with commanders to gauge the health of an organization from an equality standpoint. They work hand-in-hand with other helping agencies like the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program office and the Inspector General to handle any concerns or complaints brought to them.

“When you deal with a job that involves people, no complaint is the same, so sometimes finding the right answer takes time and a lot of research to make sure I can give a client the right information,” said Smith. “Some concerns come to us that have shared interests with other agencies, so working together helps individuals get the right help they need as quickly as possible.”

The EO career field can only be entered through cross training as a staff sergeant. Smith cross-trained five years ago from material management.

“I will always stop what I am doing to help someone who needs to talk. When individuals come to my office, I put aside everything else and listen,” said Smith. “I make sure that when individuals leave our office, they have the right resources to help them in the direction they need, to be successful.”

The EO office also facilitates various training sessions for small groups focused on resiliency, building communication and unit cohesiveness.

“We use training to help build a foundation of healthy communication and unit cohesiveness,” said Smith. “Many times we get complaints because members do not know how to articulate their concerns. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to help connect individuals to the right resources, or to help facilitate conversations to get everyone focused back on the mission.”

To contact your Equal Opportunity office, call 782-1045 or the Air Force Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Hotline at 1-888-231-4058. For more information about Equal Opportunity, visit https://www.af.mil/Equal-Opportunity.

Photo Caption:
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Megan Smith, 8th Fighter Wing Equal Opportunity director, engages with a group of Airmen during the Korea Readiness Orientation about her office’s role at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Nov. 26, 2019. The EO office supports more than 2,500 Wolf Pack members, both military and civilian. They ensure each service member is treated fairly, regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, genetic information, disability, or prior equal employment opportunity activity.

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