Are you 1st Sgt Material?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeff Davis
  • 908th Airlift Wing

Recently, Chief Master Sergeant Tracy Cornett, 908th Airlift Wing Command Chief, met with several squadron noncommissioned officers and senior NCOs and spoke to them about becoming First Sergeants in the 908th. Chief Cornett encouraged those who felt the urge to serve as a First Sergeant to consider applying for current and future openings. In these meetings throughout the unit, Chief Cornett spoke about his previous role as a First Sergeant and the growth and development it provided him. As I listened, I remembered a crucial moment in my Air Force career when my heart pulled me towards a meaningful change.

When I began as a traditional reservist 10 years ago, I trained to become an aircraft mechanic. The work was challenging, and it gave me a sense of accomplishment knowing I contributed to the mission.  Even though I felt like I was contributing, there was something missing and it wasn’t fully answering my “why.” I felt like I was a part of the team, but the level of my contribution should have been more, especially with all the knowledge gained from my experience working with people. Like Chief Cornett, I have spent several years as a civilian law enforcement officer and in this line of work, a majority of my time is spent helping people and being a resource to help them through tough situations. 

In January 2020 I had the privilege of attending the NCO Academy, in-residence course at Sheppard Air Force base, Texas.  On the first day of class, the class members were introducing themselves by writing their names on poster paper and drawing objects that defined them, whether it be a hobby, or a future goal. As I sat and listened to my 15 classmates speak about their artwork, it provided me the motivation I needed about what I wanted to do from that day forward. That was the precise moment I decided to pursue the role of becoming a First Sergeant so that I would have more of an impact on the Air Force mission and step out of my comfort zone to grow and develop. I had drawn the symbolic First Sergeant’s Diamond on my poster board. My “why” became my “why not?”

For those NCOs who have a desire to become a First Sergeant, I strongly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and speak with Chief Cornett or a First Sergeant about this rewarding opportunity, and take the necessary steps to become a First Sergeant. They can mentor you on how to navigate the process to attend the First Sergeant’s Academy and wear the diamond!