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ARPC welcomes new first sergeant

Master Sgt. Jessie Thomas is the new Air Reserve Personnel Center first sergeant on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelett)

Master Sgt. Jessie Thomas is the new Air Reserve Personnel Center first sergeant on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelett)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Master Sergeant Jessie Thomas replaced Master Sgt. John Neeley as the first sergeant for the Air Reserve Personnel Center. He arrives at ARPC from the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base, Florida, where he served as the first sergeant.

The Dallas, Georgia, native explained what it meant to be the center’s next first sergeant, providing the ARPC commander a mission-ready enlisted force to execute the unit mission.

"It is an honor to be selected to serve in such a unique role, working in a true Total Force organization," he said. "My goal here is to do everything I can to care for our Airmen so they can focus on the mission."

Thomas said there’s something about ARPC that immediately caught his attention.

“The thing I like the most is the sense of family I’ve felt during my time here. The fact that the center has folks from every component and still maintains this is truly impressive,” he said.

He emphasized his leadership philosophy wasn’t formal.

“I think treating folks with honesty and respect is key to quality leadership,” he said. "Additionally, I will never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself.”

The first sergeant shared a lesson he learned from his previous assignment.

“One thing I found out at my last unit was what 50,000 volts feels like. As part of a morale day, I volunteered to be the recipient of a Taser demonstration, which also may have been my biggest mistake there,” he said. “If you ever have the opportunity to be Tased - run the other way. It was the longest, most painful five seconds of my life. But with that said, this experience allowed me to understand more about the Airmen I worked with and helped to create a connection. Overall, this taught me that sometimes building rapport and getting to know your folks may not always be easy or pain free.”

As the first sergeant, he has some advice to give Airmen.

“My advice to younger Airmen is to always strive to be the best at everything you do,” Thomas said. “Although perfection isn’t obtainable, mediocracy should never be a goal.”

His background includes various duties as an aircraft structural maintenance craftsman where he served as a shift lead, section chief and NCO in charge in the career field working AC-130 Gunships, MC-130 Talon II, MH-53 Pave Low helicopters and CV-22 Ospreys.

He and his wife Amanda have been married for 15 years. They have two sons: Aidan, 11, and Connor, 7.

In his spare time, Thomas enjoys spending time with his family in activities that range from going out to hanging around at the house.