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2020: Year of the First Sergeant

A photo of a Chief talking.

Chief Master Sgt. Jimmy Wilfong, 23d Wing command chief, makes remarks during a first sergeant breakfast Dec. 18, 2020, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Team Moody chiefs hosted the breakfast to show first shirts appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to Moody Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine M. Barnes)

Person sanitizing their hands.

Master Sgt. Bowman, 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron first sergeant, sanitizes his hands before a first sergeant breakfast Dec. 18, 2020, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Team Moody chiefs hosted the breakfast to show first shirts appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to Moody Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine M. Barnes)

Person organizing items.

Tech. Sgt. Nathaniel Jones, 23d Wing Chapel NCO in charge of resource management, organizes beverages during a first sergeant breakfast Dec. 18, 2020, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Team Moody chiefs hosted the breakfast to show first shirts appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to Moody Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine M. Barnes)

People serving breakfast.

Master Sgt. Thomas Beers, left, 41st Rescue Squadron first sergeant, grabs food during a first sergeant breakfast Dec. 18, 2020, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Team Moody chiefs hosted the breakfast to show first shirts appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to Moody Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine M. Barnes)

A photo of a Chaplain speaking.

Lt. Col. Steven Cuneio, 23d Wing chaplain, speaks during a first sergeant breakfast Dec. 18, 2020, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Team Moody chiefs hosted the breakfast to show first shirts appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to Moody Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine M. Barnes)

A photo of a person looking at a gift box.

Master Sgt. Courtney Davis, 822d Base Defense Squadron first sergeant, looks at a gift box during a first sergeant breakfast Dec. 18, 2020, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Team Moody chiefs hosted the breakfast to show first shirts appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to Moody Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine M. Barnes)

A photo of a person handing out gift boxes.

Chief Master Sgt. Clinton Dykes, 23d Operations Support Squadron chief enlisted manager, hands out gift boxes during a first sergeant breakfast Dec. 18, 2020, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Team Moody chiefs hosted the breakfast to show first shirts appreciation for all their hard work and dedication to Moody Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine M. Barnes)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

This year has been unlike any other in recent history. Coronavirus delivered a national pandemic to the world back in March. This virus brought some significant and never before seen challenges to Team Moody Airmen and their families. These challenges continue to test the true grit of leadership at all levels.

First Sergeants are a key leadership ingredient of any highly successful Air Force organization. They primarily operate at the most essential level of the Air Force, the squadron level.  Commanders rarely ever make important decisions without counsel from their First Sergeant. The job of a First Sergeant is to stay attuned to the morale, welfare, and conduct of our Airmen, and that is a 24/7, 365 obligation. People are and will always be the mission of the First Sergeant.

If people are the mission of a First Sergeant, then 2020 should be the year of the First Sergeant. Team Moody has dealt with an enormous amount of challenges this year, from lockdowns to lack of connectedness—2020 has truly tested the resolve of so many. Our First Sergeants have remained on the front lines all year long, because 100% of these challenges are 100% within their lane of responsibility.

Over the past year, you could often find First Sergeants talking on the phone with a helping agency on behalf of an Airman, sitting at a picnic table having an important conversation with a junior airman, delivering food to someone stuck in quarantine, behind closed doors with a commander discussing the culture and climate of the squadron, or standing in a parking lot providing much needed guidance to their peers. You should all be proud of the incredible group of First Sergeants we have here at Moody Air Force Base—I know I certainly am. They faced 2020 head-on like true leaders and professionals. Their positive impact on our Airmen, their families, and the mission will never truly be quantifiable, but there is no doubt it was tremendous.

A First Sergeant’s efforts are often “thankless” because they are “just doing their job.” First Sergeants will be the first to tell you that they didn’t volunteer for glory and gratitude. In fact, most First Sergeants fully know the challenges that come with the job long before they ever raise their hand to do it. They understand that they’re often ineligible for awards and recognition other senior non-commissioned officers get, simply because they are part of the squadron leadership triad. They also recognize how demanding it will be behind the scenes, working hard every day to constantly maintain a healthy and mission-ready force, no matter the challenges their units face. Yet they still volunteer, without regret, and never ask for a “thank you” in return.

Next time you see a First Sergeant, stop them, look them in the eyes, bump elbows with them, and tell them thanks for everything they do, every single day, for the Team Moody Family.