Promotion equals more responsibility

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Norm Thierolf
  • 80th Flying Training Wing Superintendent
Over the past few months, we have had the Air Force staff sergeant, technical sergeant and master sergeant promotion releases, and are preparing for the chief master sergeant release this month.

Promotions are always a great thing. We get to recognize people for their past performance and to recognize the faith and trust we have in their ability to perform at the next rank.

Often we look at a promotion as just another stripe and a pay raise. There couldn't be anything further from the truth. With each promotion comes more responsibility. Commanders, supervisors and all Air Force leaders are looking for those who get promoted to take on more responsibility and to perform at a higher level.

Our first sergeant, myself and a technical sergeant were discussing (as much philosophy as discussion) how people need to take on more responsibility and to step up to the challenge of receiving a promotion. I made a statement that getting promoted isn't just getting a pay raise. Our Shirt chimed in with "that pay raise isn't a reward for past performance." He couldn't have been any more accurate.

We don't provide additional pay with a new rank to say "thanks for all of your hard work," we give it as additional compensation for the additional responsibility we are going to thrust on the person getting promoted.

If you open AFI 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure - sometimes known as "the little brown book" - you will see that it defines general Airman, NCO and senior NCO responsibilities. It further defines specific responsibilities for each rank in our enlisted force structure. When you review these, and as our enlisted people experience promotions, as we gain additional rank, we get more responsibilities, and often new duties, a new position, or even an assignment.

When I was at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, the First Term Airmen Center used to hold senior NCO and chief master sergeant panels for each class. I sat on at least one panel per quarter and you would get all kinds of different questions from these new Airmen.

I remember one Airman asked me "what kinds of sacrifices I had to make as I continued to get promoted and make rank." On the surface, that seems like a rather tough and challenging question to answer, but in reality it was pretty easy. I told the FTAC class that I didn't feel that I had made any sacrifices as I was promoted and moved into positions of greater responsibility. If anything, I felt like my wife made sacrifices because of permanent-change-of-station moves, longer duty hours at times, and involvement in base-level activities and organizations like the Top 3 and Chiefs' Group.

You see promotion is about more responsibility and having the opportunity to be promoted. Having more responsibility is not a sacrifice. It is an honor. I closed by telling the FTAC class that leading great people is not a challenge, it is a privilege.

As many of you continue to get promoted, you will see that with each promotion will come more responsibility. But if we think that more responsibility means you have to make sacrifices, we're probably in the wrong business. Rise to the challenge, accept that new responsibility and you will grow professionally and personally. Never look at a promotion as a pay raise or a burden.