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View Full Version : Do I have to utilize my first sergeant for anything?



SF7
06-10-2014, 03:18 PM
Long story short, my first sergeant has completely betrayed my trust and shared information that was supposed to be a private (no, none if it was life threatening or anything that would require it to be shared) conversation. My first sergeant sat down with me and asked me questions about unit morale and what not (The shirt said she wanted to know these things so they can be worked on), those questions were answered honestly.

As a result, my conversation with the first sergeant had me brought into the unit commanders office where I have now received paperwork because I am 'unfit to be an NCO.'

Do I have anything I can do here? Or am I out of luck? I don't want to even speak with our first sergeant and I don't want any of the other troops to get hung up in the shirts trap. What can I do here??

sandsjames
06-10-2014, 03:25 PM
With the Chief and supervisors now playing the role of the Shirt, it's probably a position that could be deleted from the Air Force. I'm sure it will be kept around forever though because it's "tradition".

Stalwart
06-10-2014, 03:26 PM
I would agree, that the First Sergeant may have "betrayed your trust", you could tell the First Sergeant that you thought the conversation was private / not meant for retribution; that would be up to you and how willing you are to stand up for what you think was a shortfall in his method. Short of that though, I don't really think so; he is the First Sergeant, not the Chaplain.

SF7
06-10-2014, 03:30 PM
Do I have the ability to challenge the paperwork that I will receive based off of that?

Rusty Jones
06-10-2014, 03:45 PM
Long story short, my first sergeant has completely betrayed my trust and shared information that was supposed to be a private (no, none if it was life threatening or anything that would require it to be shared) conversation. My first sergeant sat down with me and asked me questions about unit morale and what not (The shirt said she wanted to know these things so they can be worked on), those questions were answered honestly.

As a result, my conversation with the first sergeant had me brought into the unit commanders office where I have now received paperwork because I am 'unfit to be an NCO.'

Do I have anything I can do here? Or am I out of luck? I don't want to even speak with our first sergeant and I don't want any of the other troops to get hung up in the shirts trap. What can I do here??

As long as you're on the deckplate level, you should never NEVER trust anyone who is ABOVE the deckplate level. They don't give two fucks about you, no matter how much they try to convince you otherwise.

I don't mean to be a dick, but... that should be basic knowledge of an NCO. These are the very people that you protect your subordinates from. And you failed to even protect YOURSELF from them. Tsk, tsk.

Not saying that I agree that you're not fit to be an NCO, but should you walk out of the situation with all of your stripes, take this as a lesson learned and don't repeat that mistake.

By the way... I personally am even more restrictive on who I trust. Generally, I never trusted anyone more than one paygrade above me. The only exception is if someone who is two paygrades above me worked in the same shop, and even then... I made sure to sleep with one eye open in their case.

Stalwart
06-10-2014, 03:45 PM
I doubt it, but I don't know. Were you written up for being disrespectful in the meeting, then probably not. Were you written up because you expressed displeasure with command policy?

All that said, if you feel you were wronged, you can write a statement to attach to the counseling (can't you?) or you could request to talk to your IG. Either way, it likely won't go away unless you push back. If you truly thought the conversation was in confidence my advice would be that you are an NCO so talk (as a professional) to your First Sergeant.

LogDog
06-10-2014, 04:44 PM
I'd suggest you make an appointment with the Legal Office for advice. As long as you were respectful towards the First Sergeant and those above you you shouldn't be given any type of paperwork. If you've done nothing wrong then I think if the Legal Office makes an inquiry with the Commander concerning your case you'll see the Commander backing down.

Measure Man
06-10-2014, 04:47 PM
Long story short, my first sergeant has completely betrayed my trust and shared information that was supposed to be a private (no, none if it was life threatening or anything that would require it to be shared) conversation. My first sergeant sat down with me and asked me questions about unit morale and what not (The shirt said she wanted to know these things so they can be worked on), those questions were answered honestly.

I'm curious as to what gave you the impression the conversations were to be private? The first sgt is the commander's representative...and a representative of court, in the case of criminal activity. They do not have the authority to keep conversations private if it includes criminal activity, etc.

Even if it's not criminal...he/she has an obligation to inform the commander of anything negatively impacting the morale of the unit.


As a result, my conversation with the first sergeant had me brought into the unit commanders office where I have now received paperwork because I am 'unfit to be an NCO.'

That seems very odd, though. It would seem to be a face-to-face with the first sergeant would be a good starting place.

I don't see how you can get paperwork for expressing an opinion behind closed doors...unless you revealed some misconduct or something.


Do I have anything I can do here? Or am I out of luck? I don't want to even speak with our first sergeant and I don't want any of the other troops to get hung up in the shirts trap. What can I do here??

As mentioned, I don't know of any legal recourse, as conversations with the First Sergeant are not private. Unless he/she revealed medical information about you to the general public...I'm not sure any rules were broken. If he/she simply informed the commander...pretty sure that's what they are supposed to do.


With the Chief and supervisors now playing the role of the Shirt, it's probably a position that could be deleted from the Air Force. I'm sure it will be kept around forever though because it's "tradition".

I agree. First Sergeants are highly overrated, IMO.

Measure Man
06-10-2014, 04:50 PM
I'd suggest you make an appointment with the Legal Office for advice. As long as you were respectful towards the First Sergeant and those above you you shouldn't be given any type of paperwork. If you've done nothing wrong then I think if the Legal Office makes an inquiry with the Commander concerning your case you'll see the Commander backing down.

You may or may not get advice from the Legal Office, but you should speak in general terms. Keep in mind when talking to the Legal Office, that they are also the representative of the commander. If you want private assistance to discuss the specifics of your case, you need to go to the Area Defense Council, not the Legal Office.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-10-2014, 04:59 PM
Long story short, my first sergeant has completely betrayed my trust and shared information that was supposed to be a private (no, none if it was life threatening or anything that would require it to be shared) conversation. My first sergeant sat down with me and asked me questions about unit morale and what not (The shirt said she wanted to know these things so they can be worked on), those questions were answered honestly.

As a result, my conversation with the first sergeant had me brought into the unit commanders office where I have now received paperwork because I am 'unfit to be an NCO.'

Do I have anything I can do here? Or am I out of luck? I don't want to even speak with our first sergeant and I don't want any of the other troops to get hung up in the shirts trap. What can I do here??


My spidey senses tell me that you were in the First Sergeant's office for some type of incident and the Shirt just didn't pick you at random to assess unit morale.

In which case, why would you think that it was a private, non-attribution conversation?

You can provide a rebuttal statement to LOCs and LORs.

It's hard for me to give you any additional advice because you are being coy about what really happened. Plus, your writing sucks, so be very careful when you write that rebuttal, because you can do even more damage with a babbling incoherent rebuttal in your file.

Getting mad and refusing to talk to the First Sergeant isn't going to help your case.

CrustySMSgt
06-10-2014, 05:00 PM
The legal office works for the chain of command. The ADC represents YOU.

Never pass up the opportunity to rebut paperwork. Whatever you respond with must be filed with the paperwork so at least your side of the story will be on file. DO NOT make it emotional; stick to the facts.

Having said all that, you really haven't given us any information on what you actually said. If you went off, calling the CC a DB POS mother-f'er, then you probably got what you deserved. If you professionally articulated your concerns about morale and issues in the Sq, then you were doing your job.

LogDog
06-10-2014, 05:06 PM
You may or may not get advice from the Legal Office, but you should speak in general terms. Keep in mind when talking to the Legal Office, that they are also the representative of the commander. If you want private assistance to discuss the specifics of your case, you need to go to the Area Defense Council, not the Legal Office.
You are correct about ADC. That is what I meant, but forgot to specify, when I referenced the Legal Office.

sandsjames
06-10-2014, 05:11 PM
I agree. First Sergeants are highly overrated, IMO. I kind of feel bad for them. They used to be the "go to" guy in the squadron if you had issues.

LogDog
06-10-2014, 05:14 PM
With the Chief and supervisors now playing the role of the Shirt, it's probably a position that could be deleted from the Air Force. I'm sure it will be kept around forever though because it's "tradition".
Good point. You have a Group Superintendent who represents the enlisted to the Commander as well as the First Sergeant. Perhaps the First Sergeant should fall under the Group Superintendent.

Measure Man
06-10-2014, 05:25 PM
I kind of feel bad for them. They used to be the "go to" guy in the squadron if you had issues.

This should probably spin off into another thread...lol.

I don't feel bad for them...but am also not impressed. Most of them spend most of their days attending varous meetings around base, first sergeant's council, top 3, top4 , rising 56, club advisory, dorm advisory, etc, under the guise of "helping Airmen." There are some good shirts and some okay shirts...their opinions are no more valuable than any other SNCO, they do not work harder...if anything, they have LESS real responsibility than other SNCOs...but they are held on a high pedestal esp. by the officer corps.

SF7
06-10-2014, 05:45 PM
My spidey senses tell me that you were in the First Sergeant's office for some type of incident and the Shirt just didn't pick you at random to assess unit morale.

In which case, why would you think that it was a private, non-attribution conversation?

You can provide a rebuttal statement to LOCs and LORs.

It's hard for me to give you any additional advice because you are being coy about what really happened. Plus, your writing sucks, so be very careful when you write that rebuttal, because you can do even more damage with a babbling incoherent rebuttal in your file.

Getting mad and refusing to talk to the First Sergeant isn't going to help your case.

I had met with the first sergeant to discuss a civilian employment issue. I am a reserve. We met off duty out of uniform in a public setting. The shirt and I had gotten along well prior to this. We discussed the issue that I had met to discuss with her, than she asked questions about unit morale, etc.

My issue with not wanting to use my first sergeant for anything anymore is that I do not trust the shirt because of this.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-10-2014, 06:05 PM
I had met with the first sergeant to discuss a civilian employment issue. I am a reserve. We met off duty out of uniform in a public setting. The shirt and I had gotten along well prior to this. We discussed the issue that I had met to discuss with her, than she asked questions about unit morale, etc.

My issue with not wanting to use my first sergeant for anything anymore is that I do not trust the shirt because of this.

I can understand why you let your guard down with the setting of the discussion, but you shouldn't have.

Legally, that has zero impact on her going to the CC with anything you might have said. It sounds like you incriminated yourself.

Go talk to the ADC.

Also the timeframe for providing your rebuttal is rather tight, but try to get the ADC to look at your draft before you submit it.

SF7
06-10-2014, 06:12 PM
I can understand why you let your guard down with the setting of the discussion, but you shouldn't have.

Legally, that has zero impact on her going to the CC with anything you might have said. It sounds like you incriminated yourself.

Go talk to the ADC.

Also the timeframe for providing your rebuttal is rather tight, but try to get the ADC to look at your draft before you submit it.

Looks like we don't have ADC for the reserve/guard. I can't find any resources for it.

Measure Man
06-10-2014, 06:31 PM
Looks like we don't have ADC for the reserve/guard. I can't find any resources for it.

I believe they are set up regionally...so try the closest active duty base, as that tends to be where their business mostly is, so that's where their offices are. The do not work for the base/wing though...they are assigned regionally and work for the defense office in Wash DC.

If they are the regional ADC, they should be able to assist you, either travel to you, or handle it via email for something, if appropriate.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-10-2014, 06:51 PM
Looks like we don't have ADC for the reserve/guard. I can't find any resources for it.

Keep looking, it should have a link on the Wing website.

In the spirit of being a nosy busy-body, I have to ask, what the hell did you say?

SF7
06-10-2014, 08:46 PM
PM sent...

Ripcord
06-12-2014, 03:36 AM
Long story short, my first sergeant has completely betrayed my trust and shared information that was supposed to be a private (no, none if it was life threatening or anything that would require it to be shared) conversation. My first sergeant sat down with me and asked me questions about unit morale and what not (The shirt said she wanted to know these things so they can be worked on), those questions were answered honestly.

As a result, my conversation with the first sergeant had me brought into the unit commanders office where I have now received paperwork because I am 'unfit to be an NCO.'

Do I have anything I can do here? Or am I out of luck? I don't want to even speak with our first sergeant and I don't want any of the other troops to get hung up in the shirts trap. What can I do here??

So I happen to be a First Sergeant. To answer you title question: NOPE you don't have to use your first sergeant for anything. However, based on experience people only seek out and use their Shirt when THEY need something. Shame really because those of us that are good at our jobs can be your best friend and a very useful resource.

Another thing I've learned is when people are under investigation (or post complaints like this on an open forum) they are always innocent. nobody is ever at fault. ...The truth is usually somewhere in the middle it turns out.

Never assume anything you say to anybody is private FS or otherwise. Unless the FS communicated to you that it will be kept private you have no reason to believe it will. The FS role is one of advocate for the member's AND advisor to the CC. They work for the CC to present a mission ready force to accomplish the mission. There is a thin line that is walked there as our loyalty is to the Airmen AND the mission. we balance our recommendations to the CC and supervision based on whats good for the Air Force, the unit and the member (not necessarily in that order)

My guess is whatever you did was bad enough for the FS to take it to the CC for action. The FS may not have even agreed with the CC on the paperwork but you will never know that since outside of the CC's office the shirt is required to tow the line of the CC. Shoot...ask you FS if that was the case. If they are worth their metal they will be honest and tell you.

If someone truly thinks they got the short straw because of their leadership they should consult with ADC, IG and'or MEO depending on the situation. It's free.... More often then not people in trouble play the victim card and get butt-hurt because someone is actually holding them accountable for their own actions. The only person that doesn't realize it often times is the perpetrator themselves.

What did you do? What did the FS ask you exactly? If your actions were suspected to be illegal then your Art 31 rights should have been read. Either way even if they weren't administrative paperwork is not punishment and the level of proof is not as high as NJP or Court. You can receive paperwork for anything.


For those that think the FS position is outdated or not needed or shirts do less work then anyone else offer to take the FS phone/sit in the seat for 2 weeks then lets see if your singing the same tune. 95% of what we do is behind the scenes and will never be seen or recognized by anyone. The position is extremely important to a unit that has one provided the FS is good. Like any other demographic FS have our bad apples. I won't deny that. If supervisors and ALL SNCOs actually did their jobs correctly there would legitimately be no need for Shirts. That is a pipe dream will never come to fruition....

Sergeant eNYgma
06-12-2014, 01:57 PM
So I happen to be a First Sergeant. To answer you title question: NOPE you don't have to use your first sergeant for anything. However, based on experience people only seek out and use their Shirt when THEY need something. Shame really because those of us that are good at our jobs can be your best friend and a very useful resource.

Another thing I've learned is when people are under investigation (or post complaints like this on an open forum) they are always innocent. nobody is ever at fault. ...The truth is usually somewhere in the middle it turns out.

Never assume anything you say to anybody is private FS or otherwise. Unless the FS communicated to you that it will be kept private you have no reason to believe it will. The FS role is one of advocate for the member's AND advisor to the CC. They work for the CC to present a mission ready force to accomplish the mission. There is a thin line that is walked there as our loyalty is to the Airmen AND the mission. we balance our recommendations to the CC and supervision based on whats good for the Air Force, the unit and the member (not necessarily in that order)

My guess is whatever you did was bad enough for the FS to take it to the CC for action. The FS may not have even agreed with the CC on the paperwork but you will never know that since outside of the CC's office the shirt is required to tow the line of the CC. Shoot...ask you FS if that was the case. If they are worth their metal they will be honest and tell you.

If someone truly thinks they got the short straw because of their leadership they should consult with ADC, IG and'or MEO depending on the situation. It's free.... More often then not people in trouble play the victim card and get butt-hurt because someone is actually holding them accountable for their own actions. The only person that doesn't realize it often times is the perpetrator themselves.

What did you do? What did the FS ask you exactly? If your actions were suspected to be illegal then your Art 31 rights should have been read. Either way even if they weren't administrative paperwork is not punishment and the level of proof is not as high as NJP or Court. You can receive paperwork for anything.


For those that think the FS position is outdated or not needed or shirts do less work then anyone else offer to take the FS phone/sit in the seat for 2 weeks then lets see if your singing the same tune. 95% of what we do is behind the scenes and will never be seen or recognized by anyone. The position is extremely important to a unit that has one provided the FS is good. Like any other demographic FS have our bad apples. I won't deny that. If supervisors and ALL SNCOs actually did their jobs correctly there would legitimately be no need for Shirts. That is a pipe dream will never come to fruition....

Agree with everything said the Shirt position should NOT be needed but that's not the AF this is currently. Either way I'd like to be a Shirt myself someday.

BURAWSKI
06-12-2014, 03:18 PM
Does not appear to be enough specifics about what actually was discussed/transpired between the First Sergeant. There are always two sides to the story. We only have one side. I would be curious to hear that First Sergeant's side of it. Not enough info to make a really informed decision. Too much bias for one side on this one but I do understand the concern about fairness.

tiredretiredE7
07-14-2014, 03:59 AM
I can see this happening with the last three shirts I worked with before I retired. They were all about trying to look good to the CC and would step on anybody who they saw as a challenge to their future promotion. Shirts forget that they represent the enlisted to the CC and not represent the CC to the enlisted. I am sure this shirt told the CC behind closed doors that you should have been able to correct all of the issues in your section instead of telling the CC the truth about problems in the unit. I am guessing there are serious problems in your unit. I would anonymously (mail a letter) go to IG, tell them your unit is stressed out and request a unit climate assessment survey. This usually will get the leaderships attention really quick.