Joint Base Charleston


Diamond Tip

By Master Sgt. Steven Hart | 628th Air Base Wing Security Forces first sergeant | March 06, 2013

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- In the next couple of weeks, we'll see two of the best first sergeants I've ever had the privilege to serve with retire. They epitomize what all shirts stand for and they will always bleed Air Force blue. So, for this Diamond Tip, I would like to convey the history and code of all first sergeants in honor of the retirements of Chief Master Sgt. James Sammons, 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant and Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Tynan, 628th Air Base Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron first sergeant.

The 17th century Prussian Army Feldwebel, or company sergeant, was most likely the earliest introduction of the first sergeant. Standing at the top of the noncommissioned hierarchy of rank, they were the overseer of all the company's enlisted personnel. During the American Revolution, Inspector General Friedrich von Steuben, set forth the duties of the first sergeant: to be intimately familiar with the character of every Soldier, and impress upon their minds the indispensible necessity of the strictest obedience.

Throughout American history, military leaders have viewed the first sergeant as the key to the development of a good company. The good order and discipline of the troops, their care and well-being, have always been the focal points of the first sergeant's job.

The first sergeant is easily distinguishable from other enlisted ranks by the diamond in the center of the chevron, but in the 1830s, first sergeants wore a red sash around their waists. In 1847, Army regulations authorized the wear of the chevrons on the fatigues of noncommissioned officers, and the lozenge, or French diamond, to designate the first sergeant. Indications are that this was the first appearance of the diamond as an insignia device.

The chevrons have changed over the years, from their beginnings in the Army Air Corp, to the look of today's Air Force, but the one constant has been the distinguishable diamond, denoting the position of the first sergeant.

The first sergeant creed reads...
I am a first sergeant.
My job is people - Every One is my business.
I dedicate my time and energy to their needs;
Their health, morale, discipline and welfare.
I grow in strength by strengthening my people.
My job is done in faith;
My people build my faith.
The Air Force is my life;
I share it with my people.
I believe in the Air Force goal -
"We take care of our own."
My job is people - EVERY ONE IS MY BUSINESS!

No two Airmen have answered to this history or creed better than our two retired brothers. From all the JB Charleston Diamonds, enjoy some time for yourselves and your families. You've earned it!

Staying Connected