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Air Force colonel on video: ‘Stop hiring middle-aged white dudes’

Air Force Lt. Gen. R. Scott Williams presents the guidon to incoming Commander Col. Mark Wootan (right), during the Civil Air Patrol-US Air Force change of command ceremony, Apr. 17, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox/Released)
September 06, 2022

A video resurfaced last week of a U.S. Air Force colonel giving his advice to stop hiring middle-aged white people, especially “dudes.”

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The video, originally taken in February, showed Col. Mark Wootan on a video teleconference call saying “The only real guidance I put out there for them is stop hiring middle-aged white people, especially dudes that are pilots.”

“Because honestly we all think alike too much,” Wootan continued. “And if we’re going to be preaching diversity and being inclusive then for crying out loud let’s back it up with that, let’s make the rhetoric meet the reality.”

It is not completely clear who Wootan was referring to specifically when he shared his hiring advice, but his reference to “dudes that are pilots” suggests some connection to the Air Force itself.

The popular unofficial Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page shared the caught-on-camera video recording back in February. The footage regained attention over the weekend as Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) shared it again on his Instagram account last week.

In a caption for the video, Crenshaw wrote:

This clip is from February but it was just sent to me by someone who’s concerned about the woke gender and racial ideology being turned into policy by our military leadership. We don’t know everything about this clip, but it seems this Air Force Colonel, in uniform, is basically saying ‘be racist and sexist when recruiting!’

I’d welcome – and expect – an explanation from the Air Force. Is this an acceptable statement from a leader, especially as the military struggles to recruit?
Investigating wokeism in our military will be part of our oversight list when Republicans take back the House in November.

Wootan served as the commander of Civil Air Patrol-U.S. Air Force (CAP-USAF) at the time the video appears to have been taken. Wootan retired from active duty service in April; and Col. Tyler P. Frander assumed his last command over CAP-USAF.

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a civilian auxiliary of the Air Force. CAP is not an operating reserve component of the military, but is organized under the 1st Air Force and may fulfill some noncombat missions such as disaster relief efforts.

CAP-USAF, based out of Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, did not respond to an American Military News request for comment at the time of this article’s publication.

The video of Wootan’s comments resurfaced just weeks after the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force was accused of halting the hiring of white males to meet the service’s diversity goals. The RAF has denied the allegations.