Things are not always as they appear, especially when it comes to D-M’s “diamond wearers”.
In the U.S. Air Force, first sergeant is not a rank, but a special duty held by a senior enlisted member who reports directly to the unit commander. This billet is held by individuals of pay grades E-7 through E-9 and is denoted on the rank insignia by a lozenge also known as a “diamond”.
“I think the importance of being a first sergeant is the impact you can bring to your unit and your members,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Wampler, 355th Component Maintenance Squadron first sergeant. “Also being a first sergeant means that you [will] provide sound advice to them on morale, readiness, discipline and standards to help maintain balance within the unit.”
The first sergeant is responsible for the morale, welfare and conduct of all the enlisted members in a squadron and is the chief adviser to the squadron commander concerning the enlisted force.
“I’m not here to hammer you, I’m here to make sure that you succeed,” said Master Sgt. Nelson Reyes, 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron first sergeant.
Taking care of the enlisted force and their well-being is a responsibility of all NCOs and SNCOs, but taking care of D-M’s Airmen is a must for squadron and group first sergeants.
“There’s this stigma going around that [we] are here for disciplinary action, but that is far from the truth,” said Master Sgt. David Argabright, 563rd Rescue Group first sergeant.
First sergeants help Airmen in various aspects of their careers to ensure that they and the mission are well taken care of.
“When you see a first sergeant, don’t run for the hills because [we] are here to help and support you,” said Reyes. “Helping Airmen is the reason that I became a first sergeant and I love that I affect so many Airmen’s lives.”