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Symposium primes future first sergeants

Moody senior noncommissioned officers participate in the 2019 First Sergeant Symposium held in the Hoffman Auditorium at Moody Air Force Base, Aug. 7-9, 2019. The symposium provided leaders with a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a first sergeant.  (U.S. Air Force photo 2nd Lt. Kaylin P. Hankerson)

Moody senior noncommissioned officers participate in the 2019 First Sergeant Symposium held in the Hoffman Auditorium at Moody Air Force Base, Aug. 7-9, 2019. The symposium provided leaders with a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo 2nd Lt. Kaylin P. Hankerson)

Master Sgt. Paul Kalle, 723d Aircraft Maintenance Unit first sergeant, answers a question during the 2019 First Sergeant Symposium panel held in the Hoffman Auditorium at Moody Air Force Base, Aug. 7-9, 2019. The symposium provided leaders with a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a first sergeant.  (U.S. Air Force photo 2nd Lt. Kaylin P. Hankerson)

Master Sgt. Paul Kalle, 723d Aircraft Maintenance Unit first sergeant, answers a question during the 2019 First Sergeant Symposium panel held in the Hoffman Auditorium at Moody Air Force Base, Aug. 7-9, 2019. The symposium provided leaders with a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo 2nd Lt. Kaylin P. Hankerson)

A participant fills out the after action questionnaire for the 2019 First Sergeant Symposium held in the Hoffman Auditorium at Moody Air Force Base, Aug. 7-9, 2019. The symposium provided leaders with a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo 2nd Lt. Kaylin P. Hankerson)

A participant fills out the after action questionnaire for the 2019 First Sergeant Symposium held in the Hoffman Auditorium at Moody Air Force Base, Aug. 7-9, 2019. The symposium provided leaders with a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo 2nd Lt. Kaylin P. Hankerson)

Moody senior noncommissioned officers pose for a group photo after receiving their certificates for completing the 2019 First Sergeant Symposium held in the Hoffman Auditorium at Moody Air Force Base, Aug. 7-9, 2019. The symposium provided leaders with a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a first sergeant.  (U.S. Air Force photo 2nd Lt. Kaylin P. Hankerson)

Moody senior noncommissioned officers pose for a group photo after receiving their certificates for completing the 2019 First Sergeant Symposium held in the Hoffman Auditorium at Moody Air Force Base, Aug. 7-9, 2019. The symposium provided leaders with a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo 2nd Lt. Kaylin P. Hankerson)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Moody hosted the 2019 First Sergeant Symposium for Airmen from squadrons across base, Aug. 7-9.

The three-day symposium was designed to be a tool to help educate Air Force personnel on the role and responsibilities of the first sergeant.

“First sergeants are pivotal leaders in the unit,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Taylor, 23d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant and symposium coordinator. “Although they provide expert advice to senior leaders, the role exists to care for and support people. People are our mission. People look to the first sergeant for mentorship, comfort, encouragement and sincere help when they need someone they can trust.

“Our goal is for these leaders to have a better understanding of the first sergeant’s role so they can step into the position when called to do so,” Taylor added.

Although the course is not a requirement for those interested in becoming a first sergeant, Taylor detailed it is often regarded as a key first step senior leadership look for when considering personnel for the unit’s position.

 “[The symposium] is a great resource for those interested in becoming a first sergeant and really don’t know what that means,” said Master Sgt. Paul Kalle, 723d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and symposium facilitator.

Attendees were provided with a wealth of information from an acting first sergeant panel and expounded on years of experience through open discussions.  Over the course of the seminar, attendees were also briefed on a range of topics: domestic violence, counseling, family care planning, Uniform Code of Military Justice and a host of other issues Airmen may face.

“These noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and Senior NCOs come to us as skilled leaders and supervisors,” said Taylor. “We reinforce those skills with training modules and real-world scenarios that help them learn how to handle challenging situations that first sergeants face.”

Attendees and organizers agree that the First Sergeant Symposium provided perspective to attendees as they begin what might be their journey to obtaining their own diamonds.