FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md --
53 Airmen were selected between the 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, Defense Information School, Defense Media Activity, U.S. Cyber Command, 318th Cyber Operations Group, and the 315th Cyber Operations Squadron to participate in a Fort George G. Meade Additional Duty First Sergeant Symposium led by the Fort Meade First Sergeants council October 11 - 14, 2016.
The Additional Duty First Sergeant Symposium was compiled of four days that would help prepare technical and master sergeants if chosen for Additional Duty First Sergeants. At most Air Force installations, a First Sergeant Symposium is held annually, to ensure Airmen are given the proper tools to take care of our Airmen.
“In the past, Airmen from Fort Meade would attend the Joint Base Andrews First Sergeant Symposium to receive the training,” said Master Sgt. Carey Ascher, 707th Communications Squadron first sergeant. ”Based on the uniqueness of being stationed at Fort Meade, the First Sergeant Council decided our Airmen would benefit from a locally instructed symposium.”
Only on its second year, the symposium has formed its curriculum through the previous year’s feedback. This year’s symposium included information about Airman and Family Readiness, Air Force fitness, administrative responsibilities, suicide prevention and multiple other first sergeant applications.
“Each first sergeant had a unique role in the organization of the Symposium and all of our hard work came together for a smooth and efficient week of training,” Ascher said. “The success of the event would not have been possible without the cooperation of DMA (provided space for the Symposium) that allowed our Airmen to focus on training without any distractions.”
Ascher also mentioned that the council wanted to highlight the first sergeants mission, releasing the stigma of only disciplinary actions. Throughout the course, Airmen were given information on how first sergeants assist with readiness, health, morale, welfare and quality of life issues for all Airmen. At the end of the week, Airmen met the functional manager for first sergeants in the Air Combat Command.
“I am always excited about additional duty symposiums. I was invited by the first sergeant council here and I was in a hurry to accept to come out,” said Chief Master Sgt. Henry Hayes, ACC First Sergeant. “I’ve been a first sergeant since 2005, and I was still able to learn from subordinate first sergeants and student. Great reminders about compassion, thinking beyond the obvious because that is critically important for first sergeants.”
When asked about what he noticed in the students, Hayes explained it’s the Airmen being enlightened and given the tools to become better leaders to remove the misconceptions of begin a first sergeant.
“Some will go through the school (first sergeant academy) and some will never be ‘Diamond’ wearer’s, though we need these young Airmen to be better quality and to be critical thinkers. That is important and this is why we do these seminars, to become better leaders at the unit level,” Hayes said.