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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

First Sergeant is the name of a military rank used in some countries.



First Sergeant is a Specialist rank 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.

In combat units, First Sergeants are often given the responsibility for independently-operating detachments of support weapons. They are often given instructional billets as well.

Singapore Armed Forces Specialist ranks
Rank Third Sergeant Second Sergeant First Sergeant Staff Sergeant Master Sergeant
Abbreviation 3SG 2SG 1SG SSG MSG
More details at Specialist



Förste sergeant is a new Swedish squad leader rank above Sergeant and reached after 23 to 29 months of total time in training and service. The rank is the most junior professional NCO rank (OR6) and was established by the Swedish Armed Forces to align Swedish ranks better with NATO.

United States

In the United States, First Sergeant is the title given to holders of certain ranks and positions within the United States Armed Forces, and generally serve as the senior enlisted advisor of a unit. While the specifics of the title may differ between the United States Army, Marine Corps and Air Force, all First Sergeants are non-commissioned officers and can be identified by the presence of a diamond shaped figure on their rank insignia.


United States Army

US Army E-8 1SG.svg

In the United States Army, the rank of First Sergeant is above the rank of Master Sergeant and below the rank of Sergeant Major. The rank is abbreviated as 1SG in the Army or 1stSgt in the Marine Corps . While superior in rank to Master Sergeant, it is the same pay grade (E-8). Master Sergeants are laterally promoted to First Sergeant upon selection by the senior leadership at Battalion or higher depending on available positions ("billets") and opportunities. Upon reassignment to a non-First Sergeant billet, the soldier reverts back to their original rank of Master Sergeant. First Sergeants are generally the senior non-commissioned officers of company (battery, troop) sized units, and are unofficially but commonly referred to as "The First Shirt," "Top", "Top Kick", or "Top Hat", due to their seniority and their position at the top of the company's enlisted ranks. They are also sometimes referred to as "Second Hat", in recognition that even though a company includes several lieutenants, it is more often the First Sergeant that the Company Commander will turn to when entrusting important responsibilities.

First Sergeants handle the leadership and professional development of their Non-Commissioned officers, manage the promotable soldiers within the company, and are the first step in an Article 15 (Nonjudicial punishment) proceeding, as well as have a host of other responsibilities.

A First Sergeant holding or temporarily filling the position of Sergeant Major will be referred to as "Sergeant Major".

United States Marine Corps


In the United States Marine Corps, First Sergeant is one level below Sergeant Major and Master Gunnery Sergeant and is the next rank above Gunnery Sergeant. It is equal in grade to Master Sergeant, although the two ranks have different responsibilities. First Sergeant have a command responsibility while Master Sergeants have technical responsibilities. Unlike the First Sergeant and Master Sergeant programs in the U.S. Army, no lateral movement is possible between the two ranks in the Marine Corps. In the Marine Corps, when a Gunnery Sergeant gets promoted to First Sergeant, his MOS automatically is redesignated as "8999". In their annual performance evaluations, called "fitness reports", eligible Gunnery Sergeants indicate whether they wish to be considered for promotion to Master Sergeant or First Sergeant. A First Sergeant is then eligible to be promoted to a Sergeant Major while a Master Sergeant would be on the promotional track for Master Gunnery Sergeant. The abbreviation for the rank of First Sergeant in the Marine Corps is "1stSgt".

The grade of First Sergeant initially appeared in the Marine Corps in 1833 when Congress created the grade of Orderly Sergeant; 30 billets of Orderly Sergeant were established. In 1872 the Marine Corps replaced the title of Orderly Sergeant with the title of First Sergeant. The rank of First Sergeant was another casualty of the rank realignment of 1947. It was reestablished in 1955 as the second most senior grade, just behind Sergeant Major.

United States Air Force

First Sergeant insignia
E-7 First Sergeant insignia
U.S. Air Force

First Sergeant insignia
E-8 First Sergeant insignia
U.S. Air Force

First Sergeant insignia
E-9 First Sergeant insignia
U.S. Air Force

In the United States Air Force, First Sergeant is not a rank, but a special duty held by a senior enlisted member of a military unit who reports directly to the unit commander. This 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 French lozenge, but is more often called a diamond device. 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. Most units have a Master Sergeant in this position, while larger units use Senior Master Sergeants and Chief Master Sergeants as First Sergeants. First Sergeant is also a cadet position held by a senior grade NCO at the squadron level in the Civil Air Patrol (USAF Auxiliary). In keeping with USAF procedures the position of First Sergeant is also used in both Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC). They perform the same function as in the USAF but to a less significant degree. In cadet programs, First Sergeants assist with drill procedures, morale control and report on squadron status.

See also

References and Notes

External links


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