1. Careers
A Day in the Life of a First Sergeant

0805: You arrive at the NCO Club for the weekly first sergeant meeting. As usual, you're a few minutes late due to the morning's events, but then again, so are several other "shirts." For the 90 minutes, you receive briefings from the Command Chief Master Sergeant (Command Sergeant Major), the legal office, personnel office, family advocacy office, etc., ad infidium, about the latest changes to various programs.

0930: You swing by the barracks to let your "dormitory manager" know that you and the commander plan to do an inspection this Friday. You go over the problems found on the last inspection, and request that he take special care to make sure the commander doesn't see these same problems again. While you are there, you take a quick walk-through of the common areas, and talk to the folks who have been detailed for barracks cleanup this week.

Marine Corps First Sergeant Insignia. Marine Corps First Sergeants are special-selected Senior NCOs in the rank of E-8. - Official DOD Photo

1000: Your schedule is open for an hour, so you pick one of the duty sections to "drop by" on. While there, you talk to the supervisors and the troops about this and that, various policies, various programs, ect. While speaking, however, you examine each and every face. You're always on the lookout for potential problems that can be nicked in the bud before they blow up. Finally, before leaving, you speak to the section supervisor about any particular problem areas in the duty section.

1100: Time for lunch at the NCO Club. Not a normal lunch, however. This is the quarterly luncheon for the Airman/Soldier/Sailor of the Quarter program. You sit through the lunch, the speeches, and the announcement of the winners. <Sigh> None of your folks have won this time. But, when they do win, it makes the boring quarterly luncheons all worthwhile.

1230: You attend a family advocacy committee meeting about one of your troops who was involved in a domestic situation the past week. The family advocacy investigation has determined that a "minor" incident did occur. The committee recommends whatever disciplinary action the commander finds appropriate, and attendance at the anger management classes. You approve the recommendations and make a note to talk with the commander about disciplinary action (probably a Letter or Reprimand in this particular case -- more "paperwork." you will have to prepare later).

1330: Back at the office. You try to leave a couple of hours open each afternoon in the office so your clerk can fill it with appointments. Until 1500, you're "booked" with various individuals who want/need to see you. You talk with folks about their dependent care plans, financial management (you even show one two-striper how to balance a checkbook), Professional Military Education, "minor disciplinary problems (i.e. a "chewing out"), weight-control program entries, dependent-support problems, domestic situations, off-duty employment applications, cross-training opportunities, reenlisting......pretty much everything the military has "invented" over the past 200 years.

1500: Commander's Staff Meeting. All Senior NCOs and officers meet to brief the commander on what's going on

Good Morning, First Sergeant! 1st Sgt. Vincent Crosby (left) performs the jump master preliminary inspection on a fellow U.S. Army paratrooper during a combined airborne operation at Tuzla Air Base, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on May 7, 1998. - Official DOD Photo

in the unit. You impart the applicable information you obtained at the first sergeant's meeting.

1600: Your beeper goes off again. This time it's good news. The folks at personnel have the promotion listing for promotions to E-6. You have seven people on the list. You quickly drive over to personnel to pick up the listing. Upon returning to your office, you examine the list to make sure there aren't anyone there who the commander may want to "redline." You call the various supervisors and tell them to keep the individuals around the duty-section, using one excuse or another.

You reach into the bottom of your desk drawer and take out seven sets of E-6 stripes (you always keep extra stripes there).

1630: You and the commander visit the applicable duty sections and give out the promotions. It's always good when you can end the day on a positive note.

1730: Final daily meeting with the commander. You discuss the day's events and reach a consensus for items requiring additional attention. The commander agrees with your recommendation for a Letter of Reprimand for the domestic case. You make a note to yourself to prepare a letter of reprimand in the morning.

1830: A quick trip to the gym. After all, you don't want to have to put yourself on the weight control program. 30 minutes on the "Stair-Master" then 15 minutes of steam.

1900: Super! It's just 1900 and the day is done! Your spouse is going to be happy that you come home at a "decent" hour, for a change. You get into your car and check out your pocket calendar for tomorrow's schedule. Oh, no! You forgot about the Unit Softball Game, starting right now. You rush to the field and lend your support with the other "fans." 30 minutes after the start of the game, your spouse arrives with a little KFC. As you and your spouse sit there, watching your unit win its way to victory, KFC-juice on your fingers, the world isn't so hectic anymore.

2200: Time for bed. It's been a long, long day (as usual). Hopefully, tomorrow will be shorter. You don't need any sheep to fall deeply into sleep and bring back that image of the deserted island......just you, no phones, no beepers.......

Suddenly, the telephone rings......

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