July 31, 2015

Need help? Trust your ‘Shirt’

Senior Airman Devante Williams
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1st Shirt Symposium

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Arizona — When young Airmen need help or are looking for guidance, a good place to start is with a senior NCO. Making it into the top 3 percent in the U.S. Air Force is a major accomplishment. Although senior NCOs are the primary people to go, there are a limited number of senior NCOs whose number one focus is to take care of Airmen. They are called first sergeants, also known as “Shirts.”

According to the enlisted force structure, a first sergeant is a special position and is one who is there to provide a dedicated focal point for all readiness, health, morale, welfare and quality of life issues within their organization.

Being a first sergeant in the Air Force is a big responsibility, according to the EFS, and requires dedication. Master Sgt. Carmina Beedle, 56th Force Support Squadron first sergeant, takes her work seriously and has a lot of territory to cover.

“As a first sergeant, I have visibility over multiple squadrons that I would have never seen if I wasn’t a first sergeant,” she said. “I get to see how different the shops are and how they all contribute to accomplishing the Luke Air Force Base mission.”

Beedle and the other first sergeants on base work 24/7 for the members in their units. Any time someone needs help in whatever capacity, they are there to help and that covers a multitude of issues. Their purpose is to help Airmen no matter what.

Occasionally, Airmen fear going to their first sergeant because they think it might leave a negative mark on them, but Beedle encourages Airmen to talk to their first sergeants.

“I love helping Airmen,” she said. “It’s an amazing feeling to help someone who is struggling or just needs someone to talk to when they are going through a tough time. The appreciation I get from Airmen is amazing.”

Beedle is now transitioning from first sergeant duties and going back to her job in aircrew flight equipment. She says her time as a first sergeant will be one she’ll never forget.

“It’s been a pleasure and an honor,” she said. “The trust you hold by being a first sergeant is huge. I’m glad I was able to be a first sergeant and help out as many Airmen as I could.”

Beedle has left a lasting impression on people, including Senior Master Sgt. Sarah Tombley, 56th FSS Military Personnel section superintendent, who worked closely with Beedle throughout her first sergeant term.

“My overall working experience with master sergeant Beedle has been outstanding from day one,” she said. “Every time I had a question or a concern, she was always ready to help no matter what. She will surely be missed.”

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