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Mission First People Always

Ellington Field, Texas -- When I started to write this article, I wasn't quite sure on how to approach it, and then I remembered a question that was asked of me prior to my departure: "Now that you are 'officially' wearing the diamond, do you think people will see you in a different light?" At the time this seemed like an odd question. I mean, I've been sitting in the seat for a few months and everyone knows who I am. How different can it be? As I was driving through the gate at Camp Mabry, I was still pondering the odd question. Being an Air Force military technician working with the Army in the Joint Operations Center, the "blue" for the most part is treated as the distant cousin who only shows up for family reunions.

But this particular morning things seemed just a little different. It started as I approached the building. An Army specialist stopped, greeted me and opened the door. This is not a normal occurrence, at least not for me. Was it the diamond or just etiquette? I was leaning toward ... diamond. I'm not saying this particular individual isn't a polite person, but the Army holds the diamond in high regard. Throughout the day nothing really seemed out of place, except for the congratulations, the good nature ribbing and the salutations. Typically, it would be "Sir or Sergeant," but today it was a resounding, "First Sergeant!"

My first "diamond-wearing" unit training assembly took place the weekend following my return to Camp Mabry - the first weekend in June. I guess I was becoming accustomed to the "new car" smell of the diamond by now and didn't pay the original question much thought. Of course, the congratulatory remarks were abundant but it didn't dawn on me until I heard, "Hey, first sergeant, you got a second?" It was like I was in cruise control. "Of course I've got a second. What can I help you with?" Wow, I'm starting to feel like I'm actually doing my job.

Things started rolling from there - meetings, roll calls, commander calls, counseling sessions, coordinating paperwork, and home visits for the people who were missing in action during the drill weekend. Now that was a surprise for some. "Oh no, my first sergeant knows where I live."By the end of the weekend, I had to go through my notes to remember what was accomplished and ensure I didn't forget anything. The long drive home gave me time to reflect back to the original question. Different light? Maybe not so much as being seen in a different light, but definitely it was higher visibility. The diamond stands out. It is a recognized symbol of leadership. The person who wears it is known for being the person anyone can talk to. I can only hope to have the abilities to fill the shoes of my predecessors.

With the confidence of my leadership staff, the support of my first sergeant council, and guidance and tools that the First Sergeant Academy afforded me, I feel that I am off to a very good start. Mission first - People ALWAYS.