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First Sergeant Symposium prepares Dobbins leaders for next level

Attendees from the Additional Duty First Sergeant Symposium, pose for a group photo at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, Aug. 5, 2018. More than 20 Master and Technical Sergeants from the 94th Airlift Wing attended the event to learn about the duties and responsibilities of being a first sergeant, or an additional duty first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. James Branch)

Attendees from the Additional Duty First Sergeant Symposium, pose for a group photo at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, Aug. 5, 2018. More than 20 Master and Technical Sergeants from the 94th Airlift Wing attended the event to learn about the duties and responsibilities of being a first sergeant, or an additional duty first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. James Branch)

94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs -- Over 20 Master and Technical Sergeants from the 94th Airlift Wing attended an Additional Duty First Sergeant Symposium, hosted by the wing’s First Sergeant Council here, Aug. 3 through 5, 2018.

A first of its kind, the symposium provided information on the duties and responsibilities of being a first sergeant, or an additional duty first sergeant.

“The most recent First Sergeant Air Force Instruction requires this annual instruction to insure additional duty first sergeants are properly trained,” said Master Sgt. Jason Millett, 94th Force Support Squadron first sergeant. “The First Sergeant Academy provides the curriculum to us, and allows us to tailor it the needs of the installation.”

While there are no prerequisites for the course, it is intended for Senior Non-commissioned officers and Tech. Sgts. Additional duty first sergeants are given preferences when spaces are limited. The course serves as an introduction to first sergeant duties. Graduates are not automatically considered for first sergeant positions.

The three-day course concluded with a graduation ceremony attended by Brig. Gen. Richard Kemble, 94th AW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Vicki Robertson, 94th AW command chief.

“Thank you all for your leadership,” said Kemble. “First sergeants are the link between commanders and enlisted members of the unit. They ensure commanders understand and address the issues their Airmen are experiencing, while ensuring they understand the commander's policies.”

The first sergeant is an expeditionary leader serving in a time honored special duty position, rich in custom and tradition, according to AFI 36-3113. Words often used to describe them include advisor, leader, mentor and counselor, to name a few.

“There are many requirements to become a first sergeant,” said Millett. “Some include being eligible for promotion to Master Sergeant, an overall rating of “5” on your last three enlisted performance reports, exceptional leadership, managerial and public speaking skills, professional appearance and the ability to consistently pass the Air Force fitness test. Please refer to AFI for the complete list”

The 21 symposium attendees provided feedback to the council, which will be used in developing the curriculum for next year’s event. According to Millett, the next year’s course is already gaining momentum.

For information on becoming a first sergeant, please contact your unit career advisor.