The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) announced Thursday its personnel will now be known as aviators rather than airmen, as it marks 100 years since its foundation.
“We are all aviators,” Australia’s Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said. “In everything that we do, we are aviators first and foremost.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Air Marshal Hupfeld said the change comes as he strives to instil a “stronger sense of identity” among the ranks in a move that further progresses away from the original stand alone Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) which was formed in March 1941 before being disbanded in December 1947.
April 1945. A WAAAF (Women's Australian Auxiliary Air Force) member test firing a .50-inch Browning machine gun from the Liberator aircraft's waist gun position. #WW2 #HISTORY pic.twitter.com/5Zq6MJ7EdH
— RG Poulussen (@rgpoulussen) April 3, 2021
“Of all the work that has been done in developing our Air Force culture, the most challenging dilemma has been fully explaining who we are,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said in a statement on Thursday afternoon. “We understand well enough what we are and what we do – but have never quite managed to successfully articulate WHO we are. We are ALL aviators.”
Women make up more than 20 percent of the nearly 15,000 personnel in the RAAF, a 2019 report found, the highest female participation in any branch of the country’s military. The air force aims to have women make up 25 percent of its members by 2023.
Women have been eligible for flying roles in the RAAF since 1987.
The change in nomenclature Down Under follows Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) which is embracing gender-neutral pronouns such as ‘Ze’, ‘Per’, and ‘Hir’ to become “fit for the 21st century” as part of a broder shake-up of terminology across UK military forces.
British Army to Blow £500,000 on Woke ‘Diversity and Inclusion Directorate’ https://t.co/n5DatmhRty
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 7, 2020
As Breitbart London reported, the 102-year-old air force revealed to Forces.net it “actively promotes diversity and inclusion throughout its ranks in a number of ways” and that the “open and transparent sharing of chosen pronouns is one way we can be an inclusive employer.”
The charges mean, according to Forces.net, that from now on “a Leading Aircraftman could be referred to as a Leading Aircraft-Per,” for example.