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Diamond Council cares for Team Schriever

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- First Sergeants from the 50th Space Wing pose for a group photo in the wing headquarters building 9 June, 2018 at Schriever Air Force Base.  Left to right are MSgt Ryan Klemcke, 50th Security Forces Squadron; MSgt Travis Meeker, 50th Mission Support Group; SMSgt Justin Halterman, 50th Operations Group; and MSgt Chad Peterson, 50th Network Operations Group.

First sergeants gather at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, July 9, 2018. First sergeants are expected to epitomize the highest qualities of Air Force senior noncommissioned officers. These qualities require the first sergeant to always remain perceptive, credible and exemplify the U.S. Air Force core values. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dennis Rogers)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Easily spotted around base with diamonds adorning their sleeves, the first sergeants at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, have a crucial role serving as the enlisted communication link between all commanders and Airmen.

While a common perception among first-term Airmen may be that their duty is to enforce disciplinary measures, the responsibilities of the Diamond Council include comprehensive Airman care, guidance and mentorship.

According to the Enlisted Force Structure, a first sergeant is a special senior noncommissioned officer position, who is there to provide a dedicated focal point for all readiness, health, morale, welfare and quality-of-life issues within an organization.

“Our job is to help maintain a mission ready force,” said Master Sgt. Travis Meeker, first sergeant for the 50th Wing Staff Agencies and 50th Mission Support Group. “Our mission is to be the enlisted advisors to commanders and establish the highest level of esprit de corps in the squadrons.”

First sergeants are expected to epitomize the highest qualities of Air Force senior non-commissioned officers. These qualities require the first sergeant to always remain perceptive, credible and exemplify the U.S. Air Force core values.

In addition to being there for Airmen, first sergeants work closely with the command chief master sergeant and superintendents to prepare the organization's enlisted force to best execute all assigned tasks.

Master Sgt. Ryan Klemcke, first sergeant for the 50th Security Forces Squadron has served in his role for almost a year.

“I was vectored through the developmental special duties process by the 50th Space Communications Squadron in the fall of 2016, picked up as a local hire first sergeant and then attended First Sergeant Academy in September 2017,” Klemcke said.

“Being a first sergeant was always a job I wanted to do,” he continued. “Unfortunately, my motivation was based off of a bad example of a first sergeant that I had when I was an Airman. I wanted to make a positive impact and help people as much as I was able, so I waited until the opportunity presented itself.”

Meeker is fairly new to the role, recently pinning on his diamond May 1.

“I will be the first to admit, I did not know the full scope of what a first sergeant does,” Meeker said. “However, I knew it was something I wanted to explore - I always felt like I should be more connected with people.”

While their mission is to uphold the welfare of the unit, upholding discipline is also a key duty.

According to Klemcke, issues first sergeants face can change on a daily basis.

Infractions, both minor and serious are often channeled through first sergeants for resolution, including financial and legal help, disciplinary actions and physical training assurance.

Being a first sergeant also means taking on a 24/7 duty, ensuring they are available for Airmen at any moment.

“Becoming a first sergeant is one of the best decisions I made in my career,” Meeker said. “People tend to bury their emotions when going through tough times; I see that too often and sometimes you feel like you could have helped if you only knew. Being in a position where it is my job to connect with people and making sure they are okay is the best part.”

Part of the first sergeants’ creed states “Everyone is my Business.” Every day, the first sergeants make it their mission to maintain the welfare of their Airmen.

According to Klemcke, first sergeants are important because the job is making sure that people are taken care of so they are able to do their mission.

“As a first sergeant, you have to be able to navigate each situation differently because each situation is different and each person that you’re dealing with is different,” he said.

“For the longest time the only real tool I had in my toolbox was a hammer and that just doesn’t work as a first sergeant,” he continued. “I had to learn very quickly through dealing with issues that each situation is unique and you have to build your tool kit up so that you can serve Airmen better. Being able to step in and help someone who is struggling is the most rewarding aspect.”