Diversity drives Air Force culture

Tortilla chips are spread onto a plate for a diversity lunch at the Airman Leadership School house on Hurlburt Field, Fla., Aug. 5, 2014. The students are encouraged to bring a dish that represents their ethnic background. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)

Tortilla chips are spread onto a plate for a diversity lunch at the Airman Leadership School house on Hurlburt Field, Fla., Aug. 5, 2014. The students are encouraged to bring a dish that represents their ethnic background. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)

Lt. Col Sanjay Gogate, 1st Special Operations Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander, prepares a plate of food at the Airmen Leadership School House on Hurlburt Field, Fla., August 5, 2014. ALS students hosted a diversity lunch that consisted of food representing their ethnic backgrounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)

Lt. Col Sanjay Gogate, 1st Special Operations Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander, prepares a plate of food at the Airmen Leadership School House on Hurlburt Field, Fla., August 5, 2014. ALS students hosted a diversity lunch that consisted of food representing their ethnic backgrounds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)

Staff Sgt. Caleb Moss, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit supply journeyman, prepares chips and dip for lunch at the Airmen Leadership School house on Hurlburt Field, Fla., August 5, 2014. Students invited supervisors and senior leadership to have lunch with them during a diversity training day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)

Staff Sgt. Caleb Moss, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit supply journeyman, prepares chips and dip for lunch at the Airmen Leadership School house on Hurlburt Field, Fla., August 5, 2014. Students invited supervisors and senior leadership to have lunch with them during a diversity training day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Airmen marching on the sidewalk or in formation appear to move the same, look the same and act the same. Outside the uniform, however, every Airman is diverse. The Air Force is made up of Airmen with different backgrounds, cultures and religions.

Hurlburt Field Airman Leadership School has taken this concept by the reigns and is leading the way in making sure the next tier of leaders are well trained on the benefits of diversity. On Tuesday, Aug. 5th, ALS held their Diversity Lunch at the ALS building here.

"Diversity is part of the Air Force culture and part of the Air Force regulations now," said Master Sgt. Jennifer Griffiths, 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron ALS commandant. "We want to show the current and future leaders how to understand and work with different cultures and backgrounds to ensure the best atmosphere for our Airmen."

The students began the day by learning about diversity and how it impacts the Air Force. They also went over different situations they might find themselves in while supervising.

"The diversity lunch is a way that we can connect with a lesson that we taught and incorporate their backgrounds," said Staff Sgt. Omar Robinson, 1st SOFSS ALS instructor. "By bringing in food of their background we can bring everyone's diversity together while enjoying each other's company."

The Airmen's supervisors also enjoyed the lunch and the opportunity to get to know the different backgrounds of their Airmen. This lunch helped provide a casual setting to help foster professional relationships on a personal level.

"It's really great how we can get to know our Airmen in a very comfortable setting," said Chief Master Sgt. Gilbert Edwards 1st Special Operations Maintenance Group superintendent. "This lunch is a great avenue to introduce diversity on our base. It serves as a great way for us to get to know our people as well as teach a valuable lesson."

In addition to a great experience for everyone involved, money was raised through lunch plate sales. Visiting supervisors and leadership gave donations, which will all go to a local charity.

"We refer to Hurlburt's ALS class as the Harvard of ALS classes in the Air Force," Edwards said. "The instructors are great, the curriculum is great and it teaches our new leaders valuable lessons."