First Sergeant leads the way in Nashville

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Darrell Hamm
  • 118th Wing
The Diamond Spotlight shine’s bright on Master Sgt. David, a first sergeant at the 118th Wing. David, who will retire in December, desired to become a first sergeant when he was a child.

“My father was killed by a drunk driver when I was eight years old,” said David. A state trooper and a first sergeant delivered the news. I wanted to be both from that point forward and I have been blessed to get it.”

True to his word, David did just as he planned. He has served as a patrolman with the Tennessee Highway Patrol since 1996.

As a young man stationed overseas, David’s first sergeant became a mentor to him.

“First sergeants have always been there for people,” said David. “My first sergeant took me under his wing and showed me which direction I needed to go. He would even take me to his home to have dinner with his family.”

David has encountered many challenges since becoming a first sergeant. He considers his greatest challenge to be related to the success or failure of his Airmen.

“Watching an airman fail after you have mentored them and tried to point them in the right direction,” said David. “Knowing they’re making a mistake, and they won’t let you help correct that mistake.”
1st Sgt. David is appreciated by his peers as a consummate professional.

“He’s a true asset; he’s definitely a first sergeant you would want,” said Senior Master Sgt. Mike Parson, a fellow first sergeant at the 118th Wing. “At (U. S. Air Force) First Sergeant Academy in 2014 he earned the commandant’s award. That’s not just for the Air National Guard, that’s service wide. That just speaks to the kind of person he is.”

David’s message to young airmen for a successful career reflects back to the Air Force core values.

“Your integrity will follow you your entire career,” said David. “Make a difference by being honest.”

No matter the mission, David believes the position of first sergeant to be one of the most important in the military.

“Of all the things I’ve been able to do,” said David, “I’ve never had a position that was more rewarding than wearing this diamond.”