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43rd AMOG hosts 3rd Annual Pope World Tour

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Solomon Cook
  • 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group Public Affairs

The 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group hosted the 3rd annual Pope World Tour March 1, 2024.  The event is Pope Army Airfield's flagship cultural diversity event. In the spirit of the Air Force’s diversity, inclusion, belonging and equality priority, popularized after a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force was launched in September 2020, members of Team Pope gathered to exchange cultural stories and ways of life in an annual morale focused event. 

“When I arrived here in August 2021, I realized that people didn’t get together to celebrate and meet each other,” said Senior Airman Marta Burgos Angulo, 43rd Comptroller Squadron financial analysis technician. “Being from South Spain, we love a fair and festival. I wanted to bring the fair here! [I wanted to] have an opportunity once a year where we all can get together and represent where we come from and our culture.  Here we are celebrating the third one.”

Across the Travel Management warehouse, participants went from booth to booth representing more than 20 cultures from across the world. Representatives from each culture shared their history, upbringing and experiences through food ware of traditional garb and ceremonial dances. 

“The Pope World Tour is an opportunity to get to know our dynamic Airmen and their strengths,” said Col. Jason Wolff, 43rd AMOG deputy commander. “It is a sample of some of the epic diversity that resides throughout the Air Force. It is an opportunity for anyone to share the strengths of their heritage and how essential it is for multiple culture threads to weave the strong fabric that is the United States of America.  It is an open invitation for any culture represented on Team Pope to share some of their heritage and what they contribute to the foundation of this team.”

Airmen from across the base were afforded the opportunity to learn about a new side of people they work with that they may not normally see. 

“I loved seeing all of them so excited about sharing their culture with Team Pope,” Burgos Angulo explained. “That was my goal for this festival – to have a day where you can be proud of your culture and share with the rest so we can learn from each other. In the Air Force, we are so rich in diversity and culture, that makes us stronger. We should be proud of where we come from and share it with our teammates.”

The sharing and embracing of cultural diversity is an initiative across the Air Force designed to strengthen the force. Those sentiments were reiterated by the AMOG commander who was in attendance of the event. 

“It’s a force multiplier – I’ve seen it,” said Col. Chuck Morris, 43rd AMOG commander, when asked about the importance of diversity in the Air Force. “The differing backgrounds, viewpoints and specialties coming together to get the mission done. I’ve watched the best commentary, ideas and plans get built by diverse planning pools of professionals. It translates across the force – if you want the best product, the best execution, then you have to build a diverse team.”

As the event concludes and preparations for next year's begin, Airmen from Team Pope will be able to go back to their work centers with a potential further understanding of those they work with every day. 

“I hope we build on this momentum,” said Morris. “This was the largest Pope World Tour we’ve had. I’m convinced we can make it bigger and better, more inclusive, with more outreach. It’s a great event that I didn’t have a full appreciation for until now. I can’t thank the Airmen who participated enough. Great way to spend an afternoon.”