My job is people -- It can be yours too
By Master Sergeant Christopher King, 31st Communications Squadron first sergeant
/ Published January 09, 2009
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- It's not the long duty hours, the late night phone calls or the demands on my family that make me love my job - It's the relief I see in the eyes of an Airman when I help them through a tough situation; the sense of accomplishment an Airman exudes when he finds out he's been promoted to Senior Airman Below-The-Zone; or the gratitude in an NCOs face when I help them resolve a financial situation.
I am a first sergeant, people are my business and they can be yours too.
The Air Force needs dedicated and motivated master sergeants to take on the rewarding, yet challenging, special duty of being a first sergeant. In the air expeditionary culture we operate in, our Airmen need a respected voice, a senior enlisted perspective on quality force issues to the commander. We can't do that without qualified senior noncommissioned officers like you.
The first sergeant's primary responsibility is to maintain a mission-ready enlisted force for the commander. The first sergeant is the main focal point for enlisted quality force issues in the unit. First sergeants, aka "shirts," are selected from qualified master sergeants who serve as first sergeants for three years. If you have completed the senior noncommissioned officer correspondence course and possess a Community College of the Air Force degree, you are eligible to apply to become a first sergeant. If you have the drive, sense of duty and want to contribute to the Air Force at the very basic level - taking care of fellow Airmen - you should apply to be a Shirt.
The first sergeant is a first responder and must uphold the standards. The first sergeant is usually the first one to report to duty and the last to leave. You'll hear "Shirt, ya got a minute?" or "Shirt, I have a quick question." You'll master the art of multi-tasking -- some days you'll be on the phone, answering e-mails, completing detail rosters, while Airmen who need "a minute" are lining up outside your door. You'll have a full schedule of meetings, counseling sessions, briefings, cultural events, and personnel issues. You'll also have ceremonies and social events that will require your attendance. Yes, the first sergeant duty is challenging, but it has its rewards.
For me, the rewards are many. To see the relief in the eyes of an Airman when he has lost a parent and you've arranged emergency leave travel for him to go home; the "Thank You" you receive when a spouse of a deployed member calls because she doesn't know who else to call; the satisfactions of helping a first time supervisor successfully lead and mentor an Airman who's made some poor choices. These are just a few of the many rewards and reasons why you should consider applying to become a first sergeant.
I am a first sergeant, people are my business and they can be yours too. For more information, contact any first sergeant to find out more.