One sharp rock among many: First sergeant copes with a medley of responsibilities

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ricardo Sandoval
  • 354th Fighter Wing

The responsibility of ensuring the well-being of Airmen falls on the shoulders of first sergeants.

This special duty position requires 24/7 readiness from the senior non-commissioned officers who are selected to fill this role. For Master Sgt. Brian Medley, 354th Security Forces First Sergeant, it’s his dedication to his work and his family that propels him to succeed in such a demanding role.

“You have to be passionate about the position,” said Medley. “We, as first sergeants, need to be ready at all times.”

Being in a demanding role is nothing new to Medley as he was a Military Training Instructor for four years prior to becoming a first sergeant. It was during this time that Medley discovered an obstacle in taking on such a responsibility.

“I neglected myself and I was addicted to the job,” added Medley. “So before I became a first sergeant, I knew I had to have a conversation with my wife.”

From participating in triathlons to enjoying breakfast with family, Medley worked to find windows and small moments to find his balance. Achieving a healthy work-life balance is essential in the military, but even more in demanding positions.

While first sergeants need to be readily available for whatever may be on the other side of a phone call, it isn’t always about waiting for the worst to happen. Maintaining the morale of Airmen is another important responsibility.

“You have to make sure that you’re getting out and checking in on your people,” added Medley. “Get to know them and show that you genuinely care for them.”

First sergeants also help find the right channels for any problems Airmen may come across and can serve as a voice to leadership.

“Your ears are on the ground, listening to concerns and recommendations,” said Medley. “You have a seat at the table to influence change and I don’t think Airmen realize that.”

Whether it was molding future Airmen as an MTI or supporting their Air Force careers as a first sergeant, Medley prioritizes people helping Airmen stay mission-ready.

“To start at ground zero and set the standard of excellence and professionalism while inspiring them to be the best versions of themselves and then to still carry that on today,” said Medley. “It’s very rewarding.”

Medley can be reached at or on his cell at (907)388-9550.