March 2 (UPI) -- Gen. Charles Q. Brown has been chosen as U.S. Air Force chief of staff, Defense Department officials said on Monday, and would be the first African-American in the post.
Pending Senate confirmation, Brown would represent the Air Force on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He currently serves as commander of Pacific Air Forces.
The former F-16 fighter pilot, with multiple tours in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, would succeed Gen. David Goldfein, who is retiring, in the position. Brown, nicknamed "CQ," is one of only two African-American four-star generals currently in U.S. military service.
Another African-American, Gen. Colin Powell, served as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman from 1989 to 1993.
"He's got fantastic operational experience," former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said in a recent interview, responding to Brown's potential selection. "He tends to be popular with his troops. People want to follow him. He doesn't lead out of fear, he leads through the inspiration he brings to the table. He's got a global view."
Prior to being named to lead the Pacific Air Forces in 2018, Brown was deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. In 2015 and 2016 he served as U.S. Air Forces Central Command's air component commander, where he oversaw bombing campaigns in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State, and operations against Afghanistan's insurgent groups.
He has been a commissioned officer since 1984. As a pilot, Brown experienced over 2,900 flying hours, including 130 combat hours, largely in F-16 fighter planes.