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NEWS | Oct. 24, 2012

Diamond Tip: Looking through a different lens

By Master Sgt. Ronald Roper 437th Maintenance Operation Squadron first sergeant

About three months ago, I was asked to be the 437th Maintenance Operations Squadron interim first sergeant. Although I was a bit apprehensive, I was also excited about seeing things from a first sergeants perspective. Our commander, Maj. Matthew Manns, took me aside and helped ease my anxiety and fears about the new duties I would be taking on.

During the last three months, I have seen and dealt with a broad range of first sergeant issues; both good and bad. The thing that sticks out to me the most is the respect my fellow first sergeants have for each other, how hard they work for their Airmen and the way they work together to solve problems.

The thing I found to be the most satisfying in this job is helping others. To me, this is the most rewarding part of the job. The things I didn't know prior to doing this job are how dedicated first sergeants are and where they get their motivation. It seemed like a rather thankless job and one with the perception that all you do is help the commander with discipline issues, both of which are untrue. What most people do not see are the individuals behind closed doors who are very appreciative of the help we give them, and even when it's disciplinary related, most Airmen understand we truly are just trying to help them before it is too late.

It comes down to perspective.

Before this opportunity, my perspective was that of a "worker bee" Airman or noncommissioned officer in charge who didn't have the bigger picture afforded to a shirt. I didn't know how the choices and decisions were reached and the amount of thought and consideration that goes into what is often perceived as trivial issues. I didn't have the proper perspective. It's funny how your perspective changes when you see the same events through a different lens.

If you ever doubted the amount of time, sacrifice and hard work first sergeants put in, don't! Just remember they are always trying to do what's best for you, the Airman! Despite the many sacrifices, first sergeants love their job and after doing it for three months, I can totally understand why; it's a very rewarding job and there is nothing more satisfying than being able to help others.