Military News

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

First Sergeant Symposium focuses on mission, Airmen, family

by By Airman 1st Class Mozer O. Da Cunha
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

8/5/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Barksdale's current and future senior non-commissioned officers sharpened their leadership skills during the 2015 First Sergeant Symposium held here July 29-31.

The symposium provided information about what is expected from a first sergeant, to include duties and responsibilities and what it takes to get the job done.

"The participants come here to learn what we do and how we accomplish our jobs," said Master Sgt. Marcus Kelley, 2nd Bomb Wing wing staff agency first sergeant. "Participants also learn how we interact with the commander, the squadron superintendent and the on-base and off-base helping agencies such as law enforcement, dorm management, Airman and Family Readiness Center and others to accomplish our mission, taking care of Airmen."

By presenting scenarios and discussions, the First Sergeant Council offered a perspective on what it's like to be an advisor to the commander.

"Commanders rely heavily on what a first sergeant brings to the table," Kelley said. "Being in that advisory the commander can be extremely intimidating for those who have never experienced such a situation."

The symposium was brought to life through real-world scenarios discussions

"We've added seven scenario discussions to the symposium this year," Kelley said. "Based on those scenarios, we can discuss what needs to be done and how we coordinate with helping agencies to accomplish our mission."

The future leaders had the opportunity to see how helping agencies interact with and help first sergeants accomplish their goals.

"I've always known the first sergeant's job was to take care of Airmen," said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Chaffman, 2nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control training manager. "What I didn't know is how many agencies are involved in the process and how much it takes to get their job done. It's very daunting. Now, I have a greater respect for the diamond-wearers and what they do."

Some of the lesser-known first sergeant tasks were revealed.

"Learning about mortuary affairs was a very humbling and touching experience," Chaffman said. "Obviously this is something you never want to deal with, but as a first sergeant you have to be prepared for anything."

Participants got first-hand experience on commanders' expectations are for first sergeants.

"Hearing their perspective of what it's expects from a first sergeant and how they rely on them gave me a better understanding of what is required from the commander's side," Chaffman said.

By providing the prospective first sergeant's with briefings, scenario discussions and introductions to the helping agencies, the First Sergeant Council aims to give prospective candidates a look into the life and responsibilities of a first sergeant.

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