United States Air Force Reserve becoming a lot more diverse

Posted at 1:04 PM, Feb 17, 2021

United States Air Force Reserve Airman Bosu Roy is looking to take his career to new heights.

“That’s like the dream,” he said. “Being unique, something special and why not be the first person on Mars?”

Roy immigrated from India to the United States when he was 18 years old and joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve a few years later. He says it was a way to serve his new country while also getting ahead in life.

“The fastest way if I’m going to become an astronaut one day would be that I become an Air Force pilot and somehow make it to the test pilot school one day,” he said.

New research shows the Air Force Reserve is becoming a lot more diverse, with a lot more immigrants like Roy enlisting.

“We want to look like the America that we serve and that definitely includes people that come to our country from other countries,” said Bo Joyner, a public affairs specialist with the Air Force Reserve.

Joyner says the percentage of immigrant enlistees in the Air Force Reserve is the highest it’s been in five years. Adding that the current number of 7.1% of non-citizen enlistees this year is on pace to be the best ever.

“We found over the years that having a diverse workforce, it helps us find unique solutions to problems,” he said.

Joyner says this increase is linked to the Air Force actively making diversity a higher priority and recruiters speaking to groups that were underrepresented in the past.

Also helping is a new expedited process to citizenship in which enlistees can now start processing paperwork after one day of service instead of one year.

“It is a good path to for people to get their citizenship,” he said. “And I’m sure that’s why a lot of people look into it.”

For Roy, American citizenship is just part of his reason for joining. He’s still working on making his dream of becoming an astronaut a reality and believes a more diverse Air Force Reserve can help take his career to new heights.

“I know the Air Force has a lot of opportunities for everyone,” he said. “I have seen a lot of immigrant success stories.”