Are you ready for AF's best job?
By Chief Master Sgt. Laten D. Williams, 31st Fighter Wing command chief
/ Published January 27, 2010
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Are you ready for the absolute best job in the Air Force?
Would you like a job that will most likely lead to some of the most challenging, rewarding, unique experiences in your Air Force career?
The rewards I'm referring to are not just the $150 monthly incentive pay, or your very own parking spot and an Air Force sponsored blackberry account. I'm talking about becoming a true senior enlisted leader... an Air Force first sergeant.
To quote Senior Master Sgt. Robert Thompson, Aviano's First Sergeants Council president, "I have been a first sergeant for five years and can honestly tell you I wake up happy every morning about going to work. I know at some point during my day I will have the opportunity to assist or influence an Airman that may change their life for the better. When you receive a heartfelt thank you from an Airman after their time in need or help another recover after disciplinary action, the feeling you made a difference in someone's life is all the reward you will ever need. As a first sergeant, I can promise that no day will ever be routine or boring."
Airmen at all grades will be clamoring for a moment of your time; the instant you sew on the diamond device you become more than just a senior non-commissioned officer. You become 'The Shirt,' a squadron's focal point for not just enlisted issues, but you also be the commander's confidant, his right hand and advisor on morale, welfare and discipline for all. You will be a mentor, the benchmark Airman and enforcer of policy and standards. Additionally, it will be your job to ensure that all Airmen and their families are taken care of so they can concentrate on performing the mission.
Now, I'm not going to try and blow smoke and tell you that everyone has the demeanor or drive to be a good first sergeant. At times, this job will have some exhausting hours and can become a bit challenging, but that's usually when your leadership is needed the most. For this reason, I highly encourage that before you embark on this exciting career path, you look deep within yourself and consult your family, because as with all jobs in the Air Force, being a first sergeant is a team effort and if you don't have a good support network at home this job isn't for you.
Now, I know this sounds like a lot of work and responsibility being on call 24/7 and it is; the Air Force doesn't just give parking spots away, you have to earn one, but seriously, our Airmen need you. Don't worry, you won't be alone in your endeavors, as a first sergeant you will have all the mentorship, assistance and advice you'll need from your SNCOs, chiefs, base agencies, and of course, fellow first sergeants who will never be more than a phone call away. As I told you before, being a first sergeant is a team effort.
If you want to be part of the senior leadership team, there are a few requirements that must be met prior to submitting your application. U.S. Air Forces in Europe requires that you be within 12 months of your (Date Eligible for Return From Overseas) to apply, you must pass your Air Force fitness exam with at least an 80 percent, all time in grade eligible evaluation performance reports must have senior rater endorsement, have completed SNCO Academy by correspondence or in residence, have your Community College of the Air Force degree, and finally have a score of at least 62 in general or 41 in administrative on your Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.
Talk with your first sergeant for any questions or details on how to submit your package. With any luck, you may even get the opportunity to shadow a first sergeant to see if this job is right for you and your family. I sincerely hope you will consider and take the opportunity to become a first sergeant... best job in the Air Force.