First sergeant

Last updated

First sergeant is typically a senior non-commissioned officer rank, used in many countries. In NATO armed forces the rank is on OR8 [1] level.

Contents

United States

In the United States, a first sergeant generally serves as the senior enlisted advisor (SEA) of a unit, such as a company, battery, or troop, or a USAF squadron or higher level unit. (USA and USMC squadrons and battalions, as well as all higher-level units, have a Command Sergeant Major [USA] or Sergeant Major [USMC] as the SEA.) While the specifics of the title may differ between the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, all first sergeants can be identified by the presence of a lozenge-shaped (colloquially "diamond") figure on their rank insignia.

United States Army

World War I First sergeant rank insignia WW1-1sgt.svg
World War I First sergeant rank insignia
Current U.S. Army first sergeant rank insignia Army-USA-OR-08a (Army greens).svg
Current U.S. Army first sergeant rank insignia

Historically, the rank of "first sergeant" has existed in the American Army since 1781, when a fifth sergeant was added to the table of organization for Continental Army infantry regiments. Previously, under the tables of organization approved by the Continental Congress in 1776 and 1779, there were four and three sergeants, respectively, authorized in each company. The sergeants were numbered in order of seniority, and the "first sergeant" was simply the senior sergeant in the company, but not a separate rank. [2] After the 1781 Battle of Green Spring, Ebenezer Denny called the company first sergeant "the most important officer." [3]

In 1833, first sergeant and orderly sergeant became separate pay grades, ranking below sergeants major and quartermaster sergeants, but above sergeants. In 1851, first sergeant was combined with the separate rank of orderly sergeant. [4]

In the United States Army, since 1958, the rank of first sergeant (abbreviated 1SG) is considered a temporary rank in E-8 paygrade, ranking above sergeant first class (SFC), and below sergeant major (SGM) or command sergeant major (CSM). While first sergeant is equal in paygrade to master sergeant (MSG), the two ranks have different responsibilities. Both ranks are identical as indicated by three chevrons (standard sergeant insignia) above three inverted arcs (aka, "rockers"), an arrangement commonly referred to as "three up and three down", though the first sergeant has the lozenge "diamond" in the middle. A first sergeant is generally senior to a master sergeant in leadership matters, though a master sergeant may have more general military authority such as when in charge of a military police (MP) section.

Master sergeants are laterally appointed to first sergeant upon selection by senior Department of the Army leadership; qualified sergeants first class are promoted, depending on available billets and opportunities. A promotable sergeant first class, or a master sergeant, may be selected for promotion to, or appointment as, a first sergeant and may assume that duty. Upon reassignment to a non–first sergeant billet, the soldier reverts to his or her original rank of master sergeant, unless promoted to the E-9 rank of SGM or CSM. First sergeants can retire at that rank, if they so choose, as long as they have served satisfactorily in rank.

CSM is a leadership position that is a higher ranking equivalent of 1SG on a battalion level or higher command, while SGM is an MOS-specific technical equivalent to a MSG on a battalion level or higher command or in certain specialty billets.

The position of first sergeant is the highest US Army NCO rank position that is still in a direct "hands-on" leadership setting, as are command sergeant major (CSM/E-9) positions in a battalion command or higher level unit assignments of higher rank. CSM's have expanded administrative duties, and less direct leadership duty requirements with enlisted and junior NCO Soldiers than do 1SGs.

First sergeants are generally the senior non-commissioned officers of company (battery, troop) sized units, and are unofficially but commonly referred to as "top", "top sergeant", "top soldier", "top kick", "first shirt", due to their seniority and their position at the top of the company's enlisted ranks. In the Bundeswehr, the German Army, the first sergeant (German: Kompaniefeldwebel) is called "father of the unit", a concept also in place in the US Army. They are sometimes referred to as "second hat" because the Company Commander may entrust them with important responsibilities, even over one of the company's lieutenants, especially junior lieutenants.

First sergeants handle the leadership and professional development of their soldiers, especially the non-commissioned officer development and grooming of enlisted soldiers for promotions. They also manage pay issues, supervise administrative issues, recommend and prepare enlisted soldiers for specialty and leadership schools, re-enlistment, career development and they manage the promotable soldiers within the company. First sergeants are the first step in disciplinary actions such as an Article 15 (non-judicial punishment) proceeding. A first sergeant may place a soldier under arrest and on restriction to quarters in certain cases, as well as manage all of the daily responsibilities of running the company/unit.

Insignia

Beginning in 1821, first sergeants were recognizable by wearing a red worsted waist sash (along with all other senior sergeant grades), while all junior sergeant grades had to discard this item. [5] In 1872, sashes were eliminated for all ranks (except for general officers who retained their buff sashes until 1917). [6] Though the sergeant major and quartermaster sergeant already had distinctive staff NCO rank insignia, it was not until 1847 that the first sergeant received the characteristic lozenge, or diamond, with the three chevrons of a sergeant as its insignia of rank. [7]

United States Marine Corps

U.S. Marine Corps First Sergeant rank insignia. USMC-E8-1SG.svg
U.S. Marine Corps First Sergeant rank insignia.

In the United States Marine Corps, first sergeant (abbreviated 1stSgt) is a permanent rank and ranks above gunnery sergeant and below sergeant major and master gunnery sergeant. It is equal in grade to master sergeant (E8), although the two ranks have different responsibilities. A first sergeant has command leadership responsibilities and serves as the senior enlisted adviser to the commander at the company, battery or detachment level, while master sergeants have technical responsibilities within their respective occupational fields, and serve important leadership roles within various company or battery sections. Master sergeants may also perform staff functions at the battalion/squadron level or above. Unlike first sergeants and master sergeants in the U.S. Army, no lateral movement is possible between the two ranks in the Marine Corps; they are permanent appointments and require a change in occupational specialty. Rather, gunnery sergeants elect a preference on their fitness reports, which are considered before promotion. Ultimately, those selected for either rank are appointed based on suitability, previous duty assignments, and the needs of the Marine Corps. Later in their careers, first sergeants are eligible to be considered for promotion to sergeant major, while master sergeants can be promoted to master gunnery sergeant.

The grade of first sergeant initially appeared in the Marine Corps in 1833, when Congress created the ranks of "first sergeant of the guard at sea" and "orderly sergeant of the post" (of which 30 billets for the rank were established). In 1872, the Corps replaced the title of orderly sergeant with the rank of first sergeant. The rank of first sergeant was another casualty of the rank realignment of 1947. It was reestablished in 1955. [8]

United States Air Force and United States Space Force

In the United States Air Force and Space Force, first sergeants are special duty temporary ranks [9] and positional billets. First sergeants are not guaranteed to be promoted to the next level paygrade of first sergeant. Often referred to as the "first shirt", or "shirt", the first sergeant is responsible for the morale, welfare, and conduct of all the enlisted members in a squadron and is the chief adviser to the squadron commander concerning the enlisted force. [9] They are held by a senior enlisted member of a military unit who reports directly to the unit commander or deputy commander of operations. This positional billet is held by individuals of pay grades E-7 through E-9 (master sergeant, senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant), and is denoted on the rank insignia by a lozenge (known colloquially as a "diamond"). Most units have a master sergeant in this position. Larger units use senior master sergeants and chief master sergeants as first sergeants. While both services don't have separate first sergeant ranks, those who hold these positional billets are senior to their non-diamond counterparts. [9] All first sergeants can retire at that rank, within their respective paygrade, if they so choose, as long as they have served satisfactorily in rank.

Singapore

First Sergeant is a specialist in the Singapore Armed Forces. First sergeants are the most senior of the junior specialists, ranking above second sergeants, and below Staff Sergeants. The rank insignia for a First Sergeant features the three chevrons pointing down shared by all specialists, and two chevrons pointing up. [10]

In combat units, First Sergeants are very often platoon sergeants, or given the responsibility for independently operating detachments of support weapons. They are often given instructional billets as well in training schools. First sergeants normally answer to the company sergeant major, assisting the latter in the mentorship, guidance and command of the more junior specialists (Third and Second Sergeants) who are section commanders.

Insignia Army-SGP-OR-5a.svg Army-SGP-OR-5b.svg Army-SGP-OR-5c.svg Army-SGP-OR-6a.svg Army-SGP-OR-6b.svg
Rank Third Sergeant Second Sergeant First Sergeant Staff Sergeant Master Sergeant
Abbreviation3SG2SG1SGSSGMSG

Law enforcement

Some law enforcement agencies, especially state police and highway patrol organizations, have first sergeants, who are typically in charge or command of a detachment, district, region, area, barracks or post consisting of anywhere from ten to fifty or more troopers or officers. Most law enforcement first sergeants are mid-level management leaders, with ten to thirty or more years of service. The NC Highway Patrol first sergeants for example, must complete the 6-weeks advanced police management training institute at the Southern Police Institute (SPI) in Louisville KY. Other states also use SPI, or Northwestern University IL or the FBI National Academy (FBINA) Quantico VA.

Some such state agencies may have a first sergeant in charge of special state police or highway patrol units such as SWAT, K-9, aviation, personnel, major traffic accident reconstruction, research, public information, logistics, training, recruitment, internal affairs, accreditation, inspections, mounted, motorcycle, communications, detectives, administration, and other specialized sections or services other than general patrol.

Some municipal and county agencies also have a first sergeant. Civil law enforcement first sergeants are senior to sergeants and junior to lieutenants.

The insignia of such a first sergeant is usually similar to a military first sergeant but may only may have a chevron of three stripes with no bottom curved stripes "rockers", or just one or two rockers, but generally always have the lozenge under the chevrons. The rank insignia may be displayed by sewn-on sleeve shoulder stripes, slip-on epaulet stripes or pin-on metal stripes of black, silver or gold tone that may be pinned on the collar or epaulet.

See also

References and notes

  1. The abbreviation "OR" stand for "Other Ranks / sous-officiers et militaires du rang" see: NATO glossary abbreviations used in NATO documents and publications / Glossaire OTAN des abréviations utilisées dans les documents et publications OTAN (PDF). 2010. p. 237.
  2. Wright, R. The Continental Army (2006) Center of Military History: Washington, DC.
  3. Denny, Ebenezer (1859). Military Journal of Major Ebenezer Denny, an Officer in the Revolutionary and Indian Wars. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co. p. 9. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  4. Perrenot. P. United States Army Grade Insignia Since 1776 (2009)
  5. Army Digest: The Official Magazine Of The Department Of The Army, Vol. 22, No. 12, December 1967, p. 48
  6. Emerson, William K. Encyclopedia of United States Army Insignia and Uniforms, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman - London, 1996, p. 14-15
  7. Perrenot. P. United States Army Grade Insignia Since 1776 (2009)
  8. "World War II era Marine Corps enlisted ranks". Ww2gyrene.org. Archived from the original on 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  9. 1 2 3 Barnett, Robert (12 December 2012). "Air Force first sergeants work to help Airmen". Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  10. "Specialists". SAF Military Ranks. Ministry of Defence Singapore. 2010-05-06. Archived from the original on 2014-10-16. Retrieved 2017-05-26.

Related Research Articles

Non-commissioned officer Military member that is in a position of leadership but not a commissioned officer

A non-commissioned officer (NCO) is a military officer who has not pursued a commission. Non-commissioned officers usually earn their position of authority by promotion through the enlisted ranks. In contrast, commissioned officers usually enter directly from a military academy, Officer Candidate School (OCS), or Officer Training School (OTS) after receiving a post-secondary degree.

Sergeant Military rank

Sergeant is a rank in many uniformed organizations, principally military and policing forces. The alternative spelling, serjeant, is used in The Rifles and other units that draw their heritage from the British light infantry. Its origin is the Latin serviens, 'one who serves', through the French term sergeant.

Corporal is a military rank in use in some form by many militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. Within NATO, each member nation's corresponding military rank of corporal is combined under the NATO-standard rank scale code OR-3 or OR-4. However, there are often differences in how each nation employs corporals. Some militaries do not have corporals, but may instead have a junior sergeant.

Staff sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer used in the armed forces of many countries. It is also a police rank in some police services.

A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries. This is a NATO ranking.

Sergeant major is a senior non-commissioned rank or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth countries, the various degrees of sergeant major are appointments held by warrant officers. In the United States, there are also various grades of sergeant major, all of the same pay grade of E-9; however, the Sergeant Major of the Army and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, as their respective service's Senior Enlisted Advisor, receive a special rate of basic pay that is higher than all other sergeants major.

Senior chief petty officer is an enlisted rank in the navies of some countries.

The chart below represents the current enlisted rank insignia of the United States Air Force.

The chart below shows the current enlisted rank insignia of the United States Army, with seniority, and pay grade, increasing from right to left. The enlisted ranks of corporal (E-4) and higher are considered non-commissioned officers (NCOs). The rank of specialist is also in pay grade E-4, but does not hold non-commissioned officer status; it is common that a soldier may never hold the rank of corporal, and instead be promoted from specialist to sergeant, attaining NCO status at that time.

Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) is the eighth enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force, just above master sergeant and below chief master sergeant and is a senior noncommissioned officer (SNCO).

Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) is the ninth, and highest, enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force, just above Senior Master Sergeant, and is a senior non-commissioned officer rank. The official term is "Chief Master Sergeant" or "Chief".

Master gunnery sergeant (MGySgt) is the 9th and highest enlisted grade in the United States Marine Corps. Master gunnery sergeants are senior staff non-commissioned officers (SNCOs) with the pay grade of E-9, equivalent to sergeants major and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.

Israel Defense Forces ranks Ranking system within the IDF

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have a unique rank structure. Because the IDF is an integrated force, ranks are the same in all services The ranks are derived from those in the paramilitary Haganah, which operated during the Mandate period in order to protect the Yishuv. This is reflected in the slightly compacted rank structure: for instance, the Chief of Staff is seemingly only equivalent to a lieutenant general in other militaries.

Specialist is a military rank in some countries’ armed forces. In the United States Armed Forces, it is one of the four junior enlisted ranks in the U.S. Army, above private (PVT), private (PV2), and private first class and is equivalent in pay grade to corporal. In the U.S. Space Force it consists of the four junior enlisted ranks, prior to the rank of sergeant.

Warrant officer (United States)

In the United States Armed Forces, the ranks of warrant officer are rated as officers above all non-commissioned officers, candidates, cadets, and midshipmen, but subordinate to the lowest officer grade of O‑1. This application differs from the Commonwealth of Nations and other militaries, where warrant officers are the most senior of the other ranks, equivalent to the U.S. Armed Forces grades of E‑8 and E‑9.

United States Marine Corps rank insignia Wikimedia list article

This is a list of rank insignia of the United States Marine Corps. Different styles of rank insignia are worn on different marine uniforms.

The California Cadet Corps (CACC), originally called the California High School Cadets, is a component of the California Youth and Community Programs Task, Task Force Torch. The California Cadet Corps is a paramilitary youth organization in California open to students in the college, high school, middle school and elementary school grades.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has five rank schemes for active and reservist personnel, with a sixth for the auxiliaries of the SAF Volunteer Corps. The rank structure is largely unified, with identical rank insignia across the Singapore Army, Republic of Singapore Navy, and Republic of Singapore Air Force.

Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC) is the most senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) position overall in the United States Armed Forces. The SEAC is appointed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve as a spokesperson to address the issues of enlisted personnel to the highest positions in the Department of Defense. As such, the SEAC is the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and serves at the pleasure of the secretary of defense. The SEAC's exact duties vary, depending on the Chairman, though he generally devotes much time traveling throughout the Department of Defense observing training and communicating to service members and their families. The normal tour of assignment is two years, which runs concurrently with the Chairman, but an incumbent may be reappointed to serve longer. The first member to hold this post was William Gainey. The current SEAC is Ramón Colón-López, USAF; he assumed the duties on December 13, 2019.