Hispanic Veterans Leadership Alliance Urges the Air Force to Review the Racial Disparity of Hispanics in the Service


CONTACT: Brig. Gen. Ricardo Aponte, USAF Ret. ricoaponte@gmail.com

LOS ANGELES, CA – In a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Hispanic Veterans Leadership Alliance (HVLA) today urged the service to commission an independent review of the racial disparity of Hispanics. The HVLA recommends that the review be modeled after the Air Force’s recently released Independent Racial Disparity Review (IRDR), which focused primarily on black service members.

While the IRDR presented a significant amount of data that primarily showed racial disparities for black service members as it relates to promotions, leadership opportunities, discipline, military justice, etc., the review did not include complete data on Hispanics. The limited Hispanic data that the IRDR did include clearly shows disparities for Hispanics that are as great or even greater than those affecting black service members.

As shown by the IRDR data, Hispanic service members are consequently underrepresented in promotions to higher officer ranks, severely underrepresented in promotions to Brigadier General and Major General, and have zero promotions to the ranks of Lieutenant General and General. While not as comparable, Hispanics are also underrepresented in the upper enlisted ranks and senior civilian grades.

“It is vital for Hispanics to be represented in the upper ranks of the U.S. Air Force,” said HVLA board member and U.S. Air Force (retired) Brigadier General Ricardo Aponte. “If Hispanics are entering the Air Force, serving ably and with distinction, but not seeing an opportunity for advancement, as it’s currently happening, they will leave the service. This is an unfortunate loss of talent for the nation and we urge the Air Force to address this situation head-on.”


The Hispanic Veterans Leadership Alliance (HVLA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of senior leaders, military and civilian, committed to overcoming the profound lack of Hispanic diversity and inclusion throughout the senior ranks of the DoD. Our mission is to advance the inclusion of Latinos across all leadership levels in the US Armed Forces, military and civilian.

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