Who’s Who in Defense: Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., Chief of Staff of the Air Force

Chief of Staff of the Air Force

General Charles Q. Brown Jr.



  • Confirmed as Air Force Chief of Staff in August 2020, Brown is the senior uniformed Air Force officer. He’s responsible for the training, equipping, and organization of nearly 700,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces. A four-star general, Brown plays a strategic role in managing the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information across all warfighting domains—including the newly-formed Space Force. 
  • A member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Brown is a military advisor to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the president.

Military Career

  • The 35th Commander of Pacific Air Forces (2018-2020).
  • Deputy Commander, Central Command (2016 to 2018). Received his fourth star during this time.
  • Head of Air Forces Central Command (2015 -2016). Received his third star.
  • Director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence, and Nuclear Integration (2014-2015), Air Mobility Command.
  • During his 37-year military career, Brown has logged nearly 3,000 hours at squadron and wing levels, and commanded a fighter squadron and two fighter wings. 
  • Executive Action Group Director for the 22nd Secretary of the Air Force and 19th Chief of Staff (2008). 
  • Commandant of the Air Force Weapons School (2005 – 2007). Instructor for the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
  • Aide-de-Camp to the 15th Chief of Staff, Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman (1994-1996).


  • Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses (2003-2004).
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – M. S. in Aeronautical Science (1994). 
  • Texas Tech University – B.S. in Civil Engineering. Commissioned in 1984 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program.
  • Air Force Fighter Weapons School (1991). 


  • Charles Quinton Brown Jr. was born in 1962, in Lubbock, TX. Grew up in a military family in San Antonio. One sister. 
  • Married to Sharene (nee) Guilford, whose father also served in the military. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Guilford actively supports military families through organizations such as the Armed Services YMCA and Air Force Aid Society. 
  •  Two sons.
  • Called by former Air Force Chief of Staff David L. Goldfein “one of the finest warriors our Air Force has ever produced,” Brown brings extensive operational and joint experience to the position.
  • Credits his career to his father, Charles Q. Brown, a former Army officer who talked him out of quitting the ROTC program at Texas Tech University after just one semester. 
  • “Flying was not the reason why I came into the Air Force,” he said. “Or even why I stuck around. I mean, I like to fly, but it’s not the end-all be-all for me. It’s making a difference and that’s the key part.”


  • First African American to lead a U.S. military service. While retired Army Gen. Colin Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he never led a military service.
  • Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters; Defense Distinguished Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster; Air Force Distinguished Service Medal; Defense 
  • Superior Service Medal, among others.

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So much for white supremacy.

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