Hey, Shirt! Got a minute?

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Holly Cook
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Bringing one's abilities, knowledge and talents to help Airmen is what most first sergeants would say their primary duty is -- being someone for Airmen to look up to and emulate is a bonus.

"I get the opportunity to be in a position where I have to be an example for my Airmen," said Senior Master Sgt. Charles Doan, 86th Medical Group first sergeant. "I like being that example because I know I'm a good one."

For most Airmen, having an example to lean on during times of need is a must. For the first sergeants of the Kaiserslautern Military Community, being that example is what they do every day.

"Knowing that I have helped even just one person is the best feeling in the world," said Doan.

Every first sergeant has multiple ways he or she helps KMC Airmen every day.

"As first sergeants, we have our hands in almost everything going on (around) base," said Doan. "We have our weekly first sergeants meetings and we go and speak at the First Term Airman Center, Airman Leadership School, Noncommissioned Officer Academy, and many other major events around the KMC area."

The First Sergeant Association also helps out families in need every year during the holidays.

"Each year we donate at least $45,000 for our Holiday Cheer Program for military families in need during the holidays," said Doan. "This money will help these families buy food and other necessities during the Thanksgiving and Christmas months."

Even though first sergeants help their Airmen so much, sometimes they need help themselves.

"If one of my Airmen needs something fixed or are in a rough spot, they come my way," said Doan. "Sometimes they come to me with problems that I've never dealt with before. That's when I turn to my fellow first sergeants. I tap into their experience and use it to help my Airmen."

Whether it's speaking to new Airmen at FTAC or collecting donations during the holidays, first sergeants are always there to help when needed.

"Senior Master Sgt. Doan was there immediately to help me when I needed to get back home to the U.S. when my grandmother became terminally ill," said Senior Airman Sarah Root, 86th Aeromedical Squadron flight medicine technician. "I don't know if I would have (arrived) home in time without his help."

The first sergeants have a huge impact in Airmen getting home for emergency leave. They help Airmen with everything from travel arrangements to getting on the plane.

"The first sergeants are the go-to people for the squadrons," said Root. "I'm glad that we have them here to help us with any problems that we have."

Airmen across the Air Force are able to go to their first sergeants for pretty much anything that might be happening in their lives.

"I use former President Abraham Lincoln as an example for my Airmen when they are going through rough times. He failed at almost everything before he became our president," said Doan. "(Lincoln) going through various disappointments and then becoming our president proves that the human spirit can persevere through anything and that's what I would like for my Airmen to understand."

Having a strong example and guidance from a first sergeant is one of the things that an Airman looks for. When that sergeant is there to help it makes all the difference in the world.

"My Airmen are humans and wear the Air Force uniform just like me so I treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve," said Doan. "I don't need a big award to know that I'm doing well. All I need is to see my Airmen happy."