Opinion: Welcome back to work, Airman... I mean, Staff Sergeant Stone.

The following is an OpEd by Air Force Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone's flight chief.

Hey there, Stone... I mean, Staff Sergeant Stone.

It's been a while since you've been in the shop, what with your 'hero tour' and hospitalizations and all that jazz. I gotta say, it had totally slipped my mind that you were putting on E-5 just a day after getting Senior Airman.

That's certainly a story I don't hear every day.

I'm not gonna lie: I was really worried about you recovering from your wounds after you got turned into a human pin-cushion on two different occasions, and your step-promotion slipped my mind completely.

Wait, didn't I just say that earlier? Sorry, my memory isn't what it was a year ago.

Since you're back and appear to be in decent shape, I'd like to introduce you to your brand new troops.

Meet Airman 1st Class Huntley and Airman Doolittle. They will be deploying in one month, and I expect their completed pre-deployment folders to be on my desk in two weeks. Also, I realize Huntley is your best friend, but now that you're his supervisor, you're not allowed to get too friendly with him outside work unless you bring Doolittle along — unless you want to create an impression of favoritism.

What's that? You haven't been through Airman Leadership School yet?

No worries. I'm sure we can spin you up a bit before you actually attend the course. And no time like the present to learn the ropes and take on new responsibilities.

Welcome to the world of being an NCO, Staff Sgt. Stone. I hope you enjoy the pay-raise.