Lt. Col. Joseph W. Hoffler, USAF (ret) is a native of Hertford, NC. He graduated from North Carolina Central University in 1962, with a BS in Biology. He also has a MBA from the University of Missouri. Hoffler is the president of Hoffler & Associates Counseling Services. He facilitates fathering groups with incarcerated dads, is a widower with two adult children and two grandsons, lives in Colorado Springs, CO, is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Promotion: Denied reveals how Lt. Col. Joseph W. Hoffler, a former commander of the Air Force Academy’s Security Police Squadron, was the victim of a racially motivated “witch-hunt.” The book also tells the story of an unlikely duo—an older, black commander from the segregated South and his young, white captain operations officer from New York City—who came together to fight a losing battle against institutionalized racism at the academy.
BPM: What makes you powerful as a person and a writer?
As a person it is the fact of competing and becoming a military commander. A military commander has a lot power and authority. He or she can decide promotions, assignments, level of performance. Now I am president of my own company in which I have full control over all aspects of the company. As a writer, my story is about fighting racism against a very powerful, politically connected opponent, the USAF Academy. An opponent who is in a state of denied and who for years has resisted any change or challenge of its authority.
BPM: Who are your mentors?
Without question my mentors were my parents. My father, was a strong, quiet soft-spoken Black man who taught me to stand up for is right and to earn respect. Earlier my dad worked in the Navy Yard. During my years at home, my dad was a self-employed auto mechanic. He inspired us with the knowledge that we were as good as anyone else. He repaired cars, trucks and tractors for both whites and Blacks in Hertford. That wasn’t an easy task during the 1950’s in the South. My dad taught me to watch the nightly news and read the morning papers. Two tasks which follow me today. He had that air of confidence about him. He held positions in church as Usher, Sunday Teacher and then President of the Deacon Board.
My mother was a college graduate who pushed us to do well in our school work. They knew that to earn a good living during that time period, a Black person had to earn a college degree. I had five siblings. Three sister and two brothers. My two bothers ahead of me, both earned academic scholarships and graduated from high at age 16.
ShelfLifeTV: Interview with Lt. Col. Joseph W. Hoffler, Ret
BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers...
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers: Do not ever feel that your civil rights as an American citizen are assured. You must constantly be aware of people (s) who attempt to deny you your basic civil rights as an American citizen. And seek to strengthen the legal structures created to protect you. The recent story about Ms. Sherrod, proves beyond a doubt that the conflict between races are not over. Even such an innocent act of giving a speech at the NAACP can create racial conflict.
BPM: Book Spotlight: Promotion Denied
‘Promotion Denied’- The Harrowing True Story of Racism, Cover-Up, Betrayal and Vigilante Justice at the United Air Force Academy.
Because he consistently achieved outstanding reviews, Hoffler found himself on a special assignment as the commander of the Security Police Squadron at the US Air Force Academy. Hoffler was among a number of Black officers send to the Academy to increase the diversity of Black Air Force personnel. During his final year at the Academy, as he was being consider for promotion, a few white enlisted members of his squadron complained to the Chief of Staff and the Inspector General of the Academy that there were ‘too many Blacks in senior positions in the squadron.’ The senior officers launched a witch hunt against him by recruiting and illegally rewarding a poorly performing white airman in the squadron to fabricate false infractions, meant to embarrass and humiliate and ultimately lead to disciplinary actions and his early retirement. Hoffler attempts at fighting this injustice lead to further personnel actions against him and he finally realized that Headquarters Air Force, valued the reputation of the Air Force Academy and the protection of racist senior officers over integrity.
BPM: Introduce us to the primary message in your book, Promotion Denied.
Although my story is about the US Air Force Academy, there is racism in the U.S. Military. And there are not strong structures for personnel who feel that they have been discriminate against because of their race, can go and feel that they will get act.
BPM: What inspired you to create this book now?
I live in Colorado Springs which is the home of the Air Force Academy. I grew tired of the hypocrisy of the Air Force Academy of failing to address its racial past and having a media blitz about trying to recruit more Black cadets. Also of requiring the cadets to live by an honor code, while not applying that same standard to its senior officers. Over the past 20 years, I tried to get the Academy, like West Point and Annapolis to address its past racial problems. However, the Air Force Academy continues to put its head in the sand. I felt that my story and those of many other Black who were discriminated again by the Academy should be told and apologies and regress made to us.
BPM: Who should read this book?
Every American who pays taxes to support an institution like the Air Force Academy. Especially military retires, veterans and their families.
BPM: What impact will this book have on the community of readers?
I hope that it will cause them to ‘force’ the military to look at racism in its ranks. And where such injustices exist, discipline should be swift and appropriate. Just like the Air Force did when investigating sexual harassment at the Academy. Old cases in which Academy personnel conducted poor and illegally investigations, were reinvestigated and action taken. When influence at the appropriate levels the same can happen in cases involving racism at the USAF Academy and throughout the Air Force.
BPM: What was your primary quest for writing this book?
My quest was to exposure the racism at the USAF Academy, bring restitution to those who suffered as a result and hope that such actions will spread throughout the Air Force. Just as sexual harassment did.
BPM: What message in your book do you want readers to share with others?
Do not put all of your faith into believing that when racism appears, all you have to do it to report the incident and the system will take care of them. In the final analysis, the system is only as good as the people in the system. Work hard to get the right people in the right positions.
BPM: What do you think makes your book different from others on the same subject?
First I would like to add, there are few books about racism in the military. This book is written by me. In my own words, embracing the happy times in my life, my disappointments and frustrations. Usually, when a story which contains such emotions is envisioned by a non writer, typically the story is told to a professional writer who writes the story based on what he/she is told. To me some of the emotions are lost in translation from voice to keyboard. Not here, no one can put into words how someone truly feels. My readers have told me, they can feel me in every line.
BPM: Shares with us your latest awards, upcoming book release.
Last year I was chosen as the Juneteenth Newsmaker of the years for writing my story and bringing to the news, racism in the USAF Academy, CO. And I am very honored to participate in the Congressional Black Caucus Author Pavilion on September 17, 2010.
BPM: How can our readers reach you on line?
The readers can find out more about me at my website: http://www.josephwhoffler.com/ or by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
BPM: Before we end the interview, define SUCCESS. What part does ATTTIUDE play in achieving success in your opinion?
Success is when someone reaches he/her goal that they have set for themselves. It could be a promotion on the job, purchasing a new home, getting married, etc. If one hopes to be successful, one must have a positive attitude. It is nearly impossible to succeed, with a negative attitude. Success and attitude go hand in hand and compliment each other.
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ISBN-13: 9780979468605 | ISBN: 0979468604
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