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Buckley first Sergeant earns final rank

Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Santos, 566th Intel Squadron first sergeant, works in his office April 2, 2014, at the “” building on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Santos was selected for chief master sergeant, in the supplemental list, becoming one of 25 chief first sergeants in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Phillip Houk/Released)

Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Santos, 566th Intelligence Squadron first sergeant, works in his office April 2, 2014, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Santos was selected for chief master sergeant in the supplemental list, becoming 1 of 25 chief first sergeants in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Phillip Houk/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- After almost 10 years in the business, three bases and two deployments, Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Santos, 566th Intelligence Squadron first sergeant, earned the rank of chief master sergeant, making him 1 of only 25 first sergeants currently in the Air Force to hold the rank of chief, at the beginning of May.

"I am still to this day shocked that I was selected," Santos said. "Once I began to really focus on the commander's vision instead of generic initiatives, it no longer mattered if I got promoted or not. I enjoyed what I was doing and who I was doing it for."

According to Santos, his first base after joining the Air Force, was Lowry Air Force Base, Colo., where he was trained at the Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory technician.

About 25 years ago I put on my first stripe while at Lowry Air Force Base, this means I have pinned on my first and last stripe about 7 miles apart, Santos said.

Because of the reduction in manning across the Air Force, Santos will soon return to his previous career field.

"Buckley will be privy to a chief diamond for about three months," Santos said, "I essentially promoted myself out of a job I love."

With being out of the career for so long, I will have to rely on my team of Airmen to show me what has changed, he added.

Having been a first sergeant for so long, Santos has learned a lot about other programs within the Air Force and how to utilize them for his Airmen.

When I get back to PMEL, one of my immediate goals includes getting Airmen out of the maintenance shop, and into the wing, the team, and the base while also challenging them to step into special duties and broaden their careers. If they are willing, I will challenge them, Santos said excitedly.

With Santos leaving his job as a first sergeant, there are many new challenges he will encounter.

"For the first time in almost 10 years, I am going to have my own First Sergeant," he said. "I will be able to go to them and ask how they are doing, if they need help, and if I can help them with whatever they need because Diamonds are Forever!"
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