Wright-Patterson spotlight


Name and rank: Senior Master Sgt. Timothy Sigafoos

Units of assignment: U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, 711th Human Performance Wing, Air Force Research Laboratory

What’s your job like every day? No day is the same and you never know what to expect when you come into the office. But at some point during the day, I will have a conversation with the commander, chief and senior leaders about how the unit is doing and advise on actions needed.

I try to get out and talk to at least one or two of my sections every day and get to know the members of the unit on a more personal level. I have general conversations but also ask about their story, where they are from, why they joined the service, what motivates them (and) do they have family. I feel that if I know their story and share mine, there will be something that we have in common, even if it’s small. But it starts a relationship that makes it easier to come and talk to me (the “shirt”) when issues arise and assistance or advice is needed.

No “shirt” has all the answers, but we know where and how to find them. The fellow “shirts,” (Air Force instructions) and Google are a first sergeant’s best friends.

Do you have a mentoring or career tip for Airmen, including those who’d like to be a “first shirt” someday?

Two things that I have learned in almost 24 years of service: 1. When correcting a problem or misconduct, use the lowest level of correction needed and move on. If the issue is resolved, no need to bring it up again or dwell on it. 2. Know your Airmen, share your story and listen to theirs. If you can connect with people on a more personal level, it makes it easier for them to come and ask for help and deal with issues when they arise.

What’s your favorite part of being a first sergeant and why?

I love the opportunity to support our Airmen during their best and worst times. Being there for someone in their darkest hour, the one they trust. Seeing someone come out on the other side having overcome a hardship is rewarding.

My father was a pastor for 55 years and he dedicated his time and life to caring for people in the best and worst times of life. He passed away the year before I became a first sergeant, and this position lets me still connect with him and has given me an opportunity to carry on what he did for so many years.