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NEWS | March 30, 2011

"Diamond Compliance Corner" - week of Apr. 1 - Apr. 8

By Master Sgt. Shawn J. Jones 779th Medical Operations Squadron first sergeant

Every time I participate as a member of the First Term Airman Center's first sergeant panel, I ask the first-term Airmen their opinion about what a first sergeant's role is. I always smile when I hear we are the "AFI 36-2903 police." But more often than not, I get answers that include words like, "in-trouble", "scary", and "stay away."

Each time, I also have to ask new Airmen to clarify their answers. Once I feel I have a thorough understanding, I then begin to dispel this negative perception some Airmen may have of first sergeants. I get it though; I understand why this perception exists. For a lot of Airmen, first sergeants appear to be constantly enforcing dress and appearance standards, either through their personal example or by correcting Airmen every time we see an AFI 36-2903 violation.

The question I continually ask myself is: if a Joint Base Andrews Airmen violates an AFI 36-2903 regulation, how many additional junior-enlisted Airmen, non-commissioned officers or senior non-commissioned officers must this violator encounter before crossing paths with one of the 32 first sergeants, or additional-duty first sergeants, on this installation before being engaged to correct themselves?

For example, how many junior-enlisted Airmen, non-commissioned officers or senior non-commissioned officers must a staff sergeant who is wearing a nose piercing, while in uniform, need to interact with before a first sergeant happens to notice the prohibited piercing and confront him or her? In this case, I personally know of at least three non-commissioned officers had already seen the piercing. So, who should have initially confronted this violator, other than the violator themselves? Should it have been the three non-commissioned officers she was casually conversing with or the "scary" first sergeant passing by?

I end with is every Air Force servicemembers' responsibility to enforce the standards. We do this for ourselves, as well as for others, in order to not only speak but to live the Air Force Core Values of Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. In doing so, we all can ensure that our Air Force remains the premier Air, Space, and Cyberspace power in the world! Hooah!

AFI 36-2903, Dress and Appearance, Table 2.5, Body/Physical Appearance Modification Standards

Body Piercings--In Uniform: Members are prohibited from attaching, affixing or displaying objects, articles, jewelry or ornamentation to or through the ear, nose, tongue, eye brows, lips or any exposed body part (includes visible through the uniform).