A day in the life of a first sergeant: Complete dedication, pure selflessness

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Being a first sergeant is a challenging duty, but for Master Sgt. Lafoundra Thompson, 509th Operations Group first sergeant, it is also a joy.

First sergeants advise their squadron commanders and keep them up-to-date on disciplinary, morale and health issues affecting their assigned Airmen. They also routinely inspect Airmen's dorm rooms to ensure they are taking care of government property.

Their primary goal is to support the Airmen and ensure they are taken care of, both at work and at home, said Thompson.

To accomplishments this, first sergeants must interact with their personnel to learn more about their daily lives.

"At least once a week, I visit all four of my squadrons and talk to the Airmen there," Thompson said. "I ask them about their weekends, how their families are doing and about their home lives. For some people, it's easy for them to talk to me because I am a first sergeant. When I'm talking to someone, I like to add humor and make them feel comfortable with talking to me about any issue."

Because first sergeants must juggle their administrative duties with taking care of their Airmen, time management skills are essential.

"I often have people walk into the office or peek their heads around the door," said Thompson. "If I'm busy talking to someone else, they will either wait or choose to send me an e-mail about their issue. I will finish up whatever I'm doing and meet them at their squadron when I'm finished."

First sergeants must try their best to assist their Airmen and always get them the help they need.

"If someone comes to me with an issue I can't provide an answer for, I will call someone to get the answer," she said. "I won't give the person's name out to the assisting individual, but I always try to get him or her where they need to be."

Knowing that personnel are the primary focus is a part of being a first sergeant, said Thompson.

"This job requires complete dedication and pure selflessness," she said. "It cannot be taken lightly because people's personal and professional lives are involved, and they must be treated with the utmost respect and care."

Thompson's impressive reputation is recognized by her Airmen, who said they appreciate her dedication.

"I recently had a personal issue and she went above and beyond to help me," said Airman 1st Class Tamila Reid, 509th Operation Support Squadron combat crew communications apprentice. "Her patience and professionalism about my situation showed me she values her job and her Airmen."

Thompson said her job as first sergeant is to remain dedicated to ensuring her squadron personnel are mentally and emotionally fit to get the job done.

"Being a first sergeant has its challenges, but they are mostly rewarding," she said. "I have been a first sergeant for two years and I enjoy the time I get to spend with my people, learning about their lives and helping them through their hurdles. Those are the rewards of being a first sergeant."