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My First Shirt: Meet your new SBD 3 First Sergeant

MSgt Edward L. Caldwell, Jr.

Space Base Delta 3 First Sergeant, MSgt Edward L. Caldwell Jr. in the Schriever Courtyard. SBD 3 serves as the critical support function for Los Angeles Air Force Base, El Segundo, Calif. (U.S. Space Force photo by Kevin Gonzalez)

Caldwell Bowling

SBD 3 First Sergeant, MSgt Edward L. Caldwell Jr., is a United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Bronze Certified Coach. He enjoys sharing his passion for the sport with others as a youth bowling coach in the local community. (Courtesy photo)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. --

Master Sergeant Edward L. Caldwell Jr. begins his inaugural tour as the First Sergeant for Space Base Delta 3 at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

First Sergeants advise the installation commander and squadron commanders on the readiness, health, morale, welfare and quality of life for personnel.

Caldwell is very proud of being selected for the position and looking forward to his new role. “I’m excited to serve as acting First Sergeant for SBD 3,” he said. “In February I report to the First Sergeant Academy.”

SBD 3 serves as the critical support function for the base directly supporting Space Systems Command and multiple other Department of Defense units in the Los Angeles area. Having already served four years on LAAFB, most recently with the Assured Access to Space program executive office, Caldwell is quite knowledgeable about the installation.

The new First Sergeant describes LAAFB as having a very business-like look and feel, but with a smaller size that affords more connectedness as a community. “Already being here helped prepare me for this role,” he said. “I’ve performed First Sergeant as an additional duty, so that will serve me well in my new role.”

Caldwell entered the Air Force in 2004, and his 19 years of service encompasses three Air Force Specialty Codes: Supply Systems Analyst, Material Management, and Missile and Space Systems Electronic Maintenance. His experience includes logistics and supply chain management, air launched cruise missile maintenance, space launch mission assurance and space launch quality engineering.

Reflecting back on his first enlistment, he shared that his original plan was to serve a single term and return to civilian life. However, what transpired was an opportunity to cross-train into the nuclear side, so he reenlisted, which eventually led to making the Air Force his career.

He expressed gratitude for the advice he has received from various senior leaders over the years, and believes those experiences informed his decision to become a First Sergeant. It is clear when speaking with him that mission is a priority - and so are people.

His passion for serving doesn’t stop there. Growing up in Bonne Terre, Missouri, Caldwell started bowling at the young age of five, “My mom and grandmother were regular league bowlers when I was growing up,” he said. “So I spent most of my Friday nights at a bowling alley.”

He enjoys sharing his passion with others as a United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Bronze Certified Coach, and currently coaches youth bowling locally.

Throughout his career, he has been able to continue in the sport and has previously attended the Air Force Bowling Trials and Armed Forces Championship. “I love that bowling has no biases toward people,” he said. “It doesn't care about your size or where you are from, anybody can do it.”

The competitive spirit is baked into his personality, and it is evident he wants to help others realize their best. First Sergeants seek to improve the culture, and they bring knowledge and wisdom from their diverse backgrounds.

In addition to his own career experiences, he also had the benefit of learning about the Air Force from an uncle who retired after 27 years of service. Caldwell discussed some of the nuances between the Air Force and Space Force, and the importance of sharing those with Guardians who have joined through the Interservice Transfer program.

He addressed some misperceptions of First Sergeant’s in the military and wants to ensure people know they are here to help and not just discipline. “I want to be out talking to people,” Caldwell said. “I want you to come to me early with an issue, so we can work to resolve it before it becomes a problem.”

His perspective on the First Sergeant’s role is to be flexible and adaptable, to support the installations leadership. Airmen and Guardians can contact the First Sergeant on his duty phone: (310) 648-0671.

The in-processing checklist is usually the way new personnel meet the First Sergeant, but he is also being proactive in reaching out. “I’ve been busy meeting everyone,” Caldwell said. “Because of the holiday schedule, I’m still trying to check in on everybody and say I’m here for you.”

The First Sergeant is one of the many helping resources available to members of Los Angeles Air Force Base. Throughout the holiday season feelings of sadness or depression can sneak up on you. You are encouraged to reach out and seek help through the various local and national helping agencies:

Civilian Airmen/Guardians and Family members - contact your 24/7 Employee Assistance Program (EAP), call 1-866-580-9078 or visit www.AFPC.af.mil/EAP

Military and family members – contact tour Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or https://www.militaryonesource.mil/