WPAFB hosts First Sergeant Symposium

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NCOs learn about ‘additional duty’ first sergeants

An additional-duty First Sergeant Symposium was hosted Aug. 16-20 on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The symposium served as a steppingstone for NCOs interested in becoming future first sergeants.

“A first sergeant is a key leader within a unit who is tasked with advising the commander on personnel issues for all Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Davis, 88th Communications Squadron first sergeant. “The role is to be a resource for all Airmen whenever they need someone and to protect the good order and discipline for the unit.”

The weeklong class is vital to teaching potential future first sergeants what they’ll need to know in order to care for Airmen.

“The primary goal of the symposium is to be the first step for future first sergeants,” he said. “It also provides insight for technical sergeants and master sergeants on what it takes to lead at a higher level and expand their own supervisory toolbox.”

First sergeants are dedicated focal points for all readiness, health, morale, welfare and quality-of-life issues within their organizations, according to Air Force Instruction 36-2113.

“The first sergeant is important because they operate outside the normal chain of command and can be an advocate for all Airmen,” Davis added. “The symposium is important because it provides a framework on what an additional-duty first sergeant might encounter and the resources they would need to be successful.”

First sergeants from across the installation came together to teach various topics as well as provide scenarios to attendees throughout the week.

Presentations covered first sergeant responsibilities, mental health, deployments, promotions, sexual assault, domestic violence and other subjects.

Scenarios touching on suicide, drug abuse, underage drinking and more were included to give attendees exposure and hands-on experience in a training environment.

“To be an additional-duty first sergeant, you need to be at least a tech sergeant and you must show the ‘want’ to be one,” Davis said. “Once you meet those criteria, speak to your first sergeant and get signed up for the next symposium, and then you can begin being on call and perform duties.”