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First Sergeant Council Shares Expertise with New Shirts

A First Sergeant talks to a group of noncommissioned officers.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. John Baugh, a First Sergeant at the 97th Air Mobility Wing, talks to a group of attendees at the annual Additional Duty First Sergeant Symposium, June 6, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The purpose of the symposium is to give the 97 AMW First Sergeants a chance to teach interested noncommissioned officers about how to become a successful First Sergeant and provide the proper training in becoming Additional Duty First Sergeants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

Noncommissioned officers watch a presentation on how to become a First Sergeant.

Noncommissioned officers from the 97th Air Mobility Wing watch a presentation about becoming an Additional Duty First Sergeant, June 6, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The First Sergeant Symposium was a week-long course taught by current 97 AMW First Sergeants that gave basic training on how to become an Additional Duty First Sergeant and what makes up the majority of a First Sergeant’s duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

First Sergeant talk to group of training First Sergeants

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. John Baugh, a current First Sergeant at the 97th Air Mobility Wing, teaches a class of Additional Duty First Sergeants on the basics of being a First Sergeant, June 6, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Members of the 97 AMW First Sergeant Council had opportunities to share experiences, thoughts and guidance for setting the attendees up for success in the future. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

Commander and command chief congratulate Additional Duty First Sergeants.

U.S. Air Force Col. Eric Carney, the 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kay II, the 97 AMW command chief, congratulate a class of newly-graduated Additional Duty First Sergeants, June 6, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Additional Duty First Sergeants are responsible for filling in for the First Sergeant when they may not be there. They are capable of performing the same tasks as a typical shirt and respond to Airmen in need of help. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

The 97th Air Mobility Wing First Sergeant Council hosted their annual Additional Duty First Sergeant Symposium, June 3-7, 2019, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla.

The purpose of the symposium is to give the 97 AMW First Sergeants, or shirts, a chance to teach interested noncommissioned officers about becoming a successful shirt and to provide the proper training to become Additional Duty First Sergeants.

A First Sergeant is responsible for the morale, welfare and conduct of all the enlisted members in a squadron or unit. They serve as the chief advisor to the squadron commander concerning the enlisted force and are an important part in ensuring mission accomplishment.

Additional Duty First Sergeants are responsible for filling in for the First Sergeant when he or she may not be there. They are capable of performing the same tasks as a typical shirt and respond to Airmen in need of help.

“I think the most important aspect a First Sergeant brings to the unit is getting to know the people in the unit,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Johnathan Weber, a current First Sergeant with the 97th Medical Group and lead facilitator of the event. “They’re the person that can keep the pulse within the unit. The rapport we establish with our Airmen can help prevent small problems from becoming larger issues.”

The First Sergeant Symposium was a week-long course taught by current 97 AMW First Sergeants that gives basic training on what makes up the majority of a First Sergeant’s duties. Each First Sergeant Council does it differently, but the 97 AMW team likes to host this event once a year.
This course prepared attendees how to fill the role of a shirt when they are not available. Members of the First Sergeant Council also had opportunities to share experiences, thoughts and guidance for helping future shirts continue on the right path and how to best take care of Airmen.

“The symposium is a good chance for us to share our knowledge and experiences in a formal and informal setting to potential First Sergeants,” said Weber. “It gives them a chance to ask questions to multiple different First Sergeants with different experiences, so we can help set them up for success.”

As a result from their week of training, the 14 attendees celebrated their accomplishment in finishing the course and becoming official Additional Duty First Sergeants with a graduation ceremony, June 7, 2019, at Altus AFB. This symposium highlights one of the many ways that Airmen of the Mighty 97th constantly support and train their wingmen.