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The U.S. military prides itself on its colorblind attitude to race and its increasing diversity. Why, then, does the field of naval aviation remain overwhelmingly white, and less diverse in some areas now than two decades ago? Three black aviators who share remarkably similar stories of getting expelled from the training pipeline say unconscious bias is to blame. These former trainees, some of whom remain in appeals with the Navy, say they're just as good as their white peers, and an instructor backs their assertions. Investigations, formal complaints, and a troubling aviation instructors' chat history paint a picture of an environment that dooms minority aviators from the moment they set foot on the flightline.
If you're a gay man in uniform, the Air Force presents a dilemma. You can fly for the service, or you can take Truvada, a pre-exposure prophylactic drug designed to reduce the risk of HIV. The Air Force bars pilots from using the drug, citing safety concerns. But critics say the service's reticence to approve the medication is a symptom of latent cultural reticence bordering on homophobia, and moralistic concerns over a sexually promiscuous lifestyle. This report includes interviews with pilots who have been affects by the policy, including one who opted to avoid the service due to the restriction. A follow-up report details how the Air Force reversed course to approve the drug, showing the impact of Military.com's reporting.