Voices of Houston: Texas Air National guardsman overcomes adversity to earn highest enlisted rank

HOUSTON – Texas Air National Guardsman Charles Jackson is no stranger to adversity. In fact, he used it to fuel his fire to overcome and lead.

Passion. Purpose. Pride. These are three words which Charles Jackson personifies. He earned the rank of Chief Master Sergeant, which is the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force.

“It’s a culmination of my 36 years of service, that I am now called Chief Jackson,” said Jackson.

Over 1,000 Airmen report to Ellington Field and are charged with various of assignments including combat operations, supporting foodbanks, coronavirus missions and much more. Jackson oversees a multitude of administrative duties that support all of these airmen. “We in a rare, rare position where we positively Affect an airman each and every day,” said Jackson.

Jackson’s wisdom, character and leadership were forged in adversity, as a young boy growing up in New Orleans “I can remember days of going to the store with my mom, walking around and she’s trying to buy clothes for you, but you look off to the side and there’s somebody watching you, wherever you are going this person is following you,” said Jackson. He was also subjected to having rocks and eggs thrown at his school bus and other forms of racism. “So as a young man that was a lot to deal with,” said Jackson.

However, he took those hardships, put them in the furnace and used them as fire to lead his airmen by example. “It’s ingrained in me to treat people equally and to make sure that we don’t do the ills of the past,” said Jackson.

Jackson says that Black History Month is important because it keeps the conversation about African American success and sacrifice alive, which is important for everyone regardless of race. “I think all of these things help us to come together and have a better understanding of who we are and it brings us closer together,” said Jackson.

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