First Sergeants train potential replacements through symposium
By Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 16, 2016
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Buckley Air Force Base First Sergeants held a first sergeants symposium May 9 to 12, 2016, at the 140th Wing building on Buckley AFB, Colo.
The symposium provided an opportunity for technical sergeants and above to become familiar with what the job of a first sergeant is composed of.
"The main focus of the symposium is to train our replacements and to make sure the next person is ready to assume the position of first sergeant," said Master Sgt. Troy Drasher, 2 Space Warning Squadron first sergeant.
The four-day event included lessons taught by current first sergeants, visits from resources such as Airmen and Family Readiness and mental health, and role playing situations from the day-to-day life of a first sergeant.
"Most of the information didn't come from PowerPoints or lesson plans; it came from the stories exchanged between classmates and the first sergeants have an insight on what the job really is," said Tech. Sgt. Chris Cheung, 460th Operations Support Squadron staff instructor. "Their stories make you realize what you are really getting into and puts everything into perspective."
The symposium not only provided potential first sergeants with important insights, but it also allows current first sergeants an opportunity to prepare their replacements and provide their units with well-trained and competent additional-duty first sergeants.
"Watching the group dynamic come out is interesting because you can start to see what kind of first sergeant each person will become," said Drasher. "We all have very unique traits, there is the common denominator of being a shirt, but we each have unique characteristics that we can bring forward."
The symposium allowed potential first sergeants four days of one-on-one time with current shirts who have been through difficult situations that make the job what it is and catch a small glimpse into what they could possibly have to handle.
"Everybody should come and sit in on one of the classes, even if you aren't a technical sergeant," said Cheung. "Take the opportunity, don't wait to be a technical sergeant when you can learn now about helping other Airmen."
The job of a first sergeant is never over. They are there when an Airmen needs to talk, has financial or personal issues or even when suicide is involved. First sergeants use the opportunity of the symposium to shed some light on everything they do to their potential replacements.
"From head up to head down, when we get off of our pillows until we lay them back down at the end of the day, our job is to make sure we take care of our Airmen and figure out what they need," said Drasher.