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Diamonds; What are they for?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeremy Sutfin
  • 6th Logistics Readines Squadron First Sergeant
You can't imagine how many times a day, at MacDill AFB alone, First Sergeant's call a work center to let a particular Airman know they need to speak with them and if they have a few minutes to come to the office and see them. Immediately on his or her way to the First Sergeant's office, the Airman runs through things in their mind like; did I miss an appointment, forget to report a ticket, or what did I do wrong? By the time the Airman arrives at the First Sergeants office, they are breathing heavily, sweating and their heart is racing. Most of the time, it was stress for no reason.

First Sergeants are in the unit to take care of many things. The First Sergeant's responsibilities are to ensure the health, morale, welfare and readiness of the squadron's members. The First Sergeant is also responsible for providing sound advice to the commander on a wide range of topics including the health, esprit de corps, discipline, mentoring, well being, career progression, recognition, and professional development of all assigned enlisted members. Just because the First Sergeant calls you and asks you to come to his or her office it doesn't mean you did anything wrong.

First Sergeants are of the mindset that if they are proactive and take care of the health, morale, welfare and readiness issues of their unit personnel, there will be less discipline type issues. Inevitably, someone will get themselves into some type of trouble and discipline will be enforced, but for the most part, First Sergeants spend the greater part of their day taking care of people's issues. These can range from a housing issue (on or off base), to a work center problem, financial difficulties, personnel or finance issues, to name just some.

You will not find First Sergeants sitting around their office, perusing the unit's personnel roster, thinking up things to make someone's career difficult. Most days, when First Sergeant's arrive at their office, there are already phone messages and e-mails from personnel needing assistance. They immediately start working their issues to get the Airman the help needed. They come across some issues that are easily fixed with a phone call and then others that are some of the most unusual issues that take a little more time and effort. Effort well spent when you see the relief on the Airman's face.

That's why First Sergeants tell their Airmen that they are there to help in anyway possible. Although it may not be hard to convince most people of that, there is still some that don't believe. Those few assume that since First Sergeants are always there when discipline action is taken, that is all they do. We are there when discipline action is taken by a commander but we strive to be proactive in the squadron to limit those times. It is much better for a squadron to have all its personnel working to get the mission done. We're here to help people, once their issues are resolved, they can become more productive workers; and that's part of what our job is about.

So, the next time your First Sergeant gives you a call, remember they are trying to help not hurt. Take their assistance and advice for what it is as assistance and advice. Remember, it is about the health, morale, welfare and readiness of the squadron. There is a reason First Sergeants wear such a visible sign of their profession, the diamond, to readily identify to personnel that we are here to help people. Think of it is a red cross; ever visible and ever ready to help.