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CAPT. RON EVANS
U.S. NAVY, RETIRED
Texas
CAPT. RON EVANS CAPT. RON EVANS

HE SUPPORTS CAREER TRANSITION EFFORTS FOR MINORITIES

By Kristin Davis
Photo by Alan Lessig

By the time he was 8 years old, Ron Evans could tell the difference between the civilian and military planes roaring in the sky overhead. His early interest in aviation, combined with his father’s 21 years in the Army, helped determine his own path in life.

'We have not created a language when we talk about diversity that we can all understand.'

Evans entered Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1979 and pinned on his wings a year later. He then was sent to the U.S. Naval Academy, which needed minority company-level officers.

In 1972, minorities accounted for fewer than 100 officers in the Navy. Fewer than 50 of them were African American. That underrepresentation led to the formation of the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA), which sought to improve participation in the Naval Academy and interest in serving.

NNOA serves as a benchmark for supporting diversity in the sea services, to which Evans has long been dedicated. As special assistant to the chief of naval personnel, he spent two years drafting a strategic plan for Navy minority affairs.

“We still haven’t found the secret to success with regards to embracement of diversity,” Evans said. “We have not created a language when we talk about diversity that we can all understand.”

Evans retired from the Navy in 2005 and spent the next 12 years as a senior manager with Raytheon Company, helping more than 30 career officers transition from the military to the civilian workforce.

“I noticed a disparity between people of color and their transition experience,” Evans said.

More often than not, Black officers waited months for a job interview or took a pay cut, while white officers secured jobs almost immediately, often at large pay increases.

Evans advocated for a six-month transition survey to see whether the numbers bore out. He shared his experience with NNOA and MOAA to help educate members and provide transitioning tools. He co-chaired Raytheon’s annual regional diversity summit, introduced Raytheon to NNOA, and mentored Raytheon’s future leaders through its Leadership and Development Program. He is still helping, from assisting servicemembers preparing for retirement to aiding veterans with VA claims.

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This material originally appeared in Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA PREMIUM and LIFE members.

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