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NEWS | May 12, 2022

First Sergeant Symposium

By Airman 1st Class Joao Marcus Costa 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, AOMORI, Japan -- Misawa’s First Sergeant Council held the spring First Sergeant Symposium at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 25-29, 2022. The purpose of the symposium is to train Airmen in the ranks of Tech. Sgt. and above, who are interested in being first sergeants, on roles, responsibilities and tools first sergeants have.

A first sergeant is a well-known duty title in the Air Force, but what exactly does a first sergeant do? First sergeants advise commanders on the health, morale, welfare, and quality of life of Airmen and families to ensure overall unit readiness. They are responsible for the overall well-being of the Airmen in their units and are an important support role. It’s crucial for a first sergeant to be ready to handle a variety of unpredictable and unique situations in support of Airmen and their families.

The role of first sergeant is earned by Master Sgt. and above. Before becoming a first sergeant, non-commissioned officers have the opportunity to perform as the acting first sergeant for a unit. After being selected and completing First Sergeant Academy, first sergeants are honored with the incorporation of the diamond into their rank insignia.

But even if members aren’t ready to pursue becoming a diamond-wearing first sergeant, the symposium offers Airmen a chance to understand the job of a first sergeant and the resources they have to solve unique and unpredictable situations..

“At the end of the day, you don't need a diamond to do these things,” said Master Sgt. Allen Calais, 35th Operations Group first sergeant. “What we're teaching is for folks who want to be a first sergeant, but it's also for those seeking great information to take back with them to be better supervisors and to help their leaders make better choices”

The symposium had a variety of presentations, organizations and special guests come in to explain their roles and how they assist first sergeants.

“As NCOs and SNCOs, we must always be on a quest to hone our leadership skills,” said Chief Master Sgt. Joey R. Meininger, 35th Fighter Wing command chief. “This symposium does that and much more. It provides our frontline leaders valuable tools needed to help all of our Airmen here at Misawa.”

The First Sergeants Council will hold a fall symposium later this year to continue educating and recruiting non-commissioned officers interested in supporting fellow Airmen.

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