First Sergeant Symposium shapes future shirts

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Iain Stanley
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Team Moody’s First Sergeant’s Council held the bi-annual First Sergeant Symposium at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, May 6-10, 2024.

The symposium is a week-long event designed to give attendees the opportunity to fill first sergeant roles while giving them the knowledge to help Airmen in crisis.

“The First Sergeant Symposium helps you build those skills that you need to be a first sergeant prior to being a first sergeant,” said Master Sgt. Nicholas Kroening, 822nd Base Defense Squadron’s first sergeant. “It also gives you that first taste of the job so you can figure out if it’s a job that’s right for you, because it’s not right for everyone.”

First sergeants, commonly referred to as the "First Shirt," provide guidance to commanders regarding the readiness, health, morale, welfare, and overall quality of life of Airmen and their families, ensuring a force that is prepared for missions.

The event is important for those interested in becoming a first sergeant in more ways than one. Not only does the symposium challenge attendees to broaden their perspective on issues they don’t typically encounter, but guest speakers from various career fields are invited to speak on topics from professionalism to dealing with a tragic incident.

“The symposium has helped me develop my skills as an NCO (noncommissioned officer), especially with things I wasn’t aware of – like what offices I could use or what resources are available to help Airmen in certain situations,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Pierre, 823rd Base Defense Squadron fire team leader and event attendee. “This has given me the resources to help me understand that more clearly, and that there are people and connections I can go to in order to help people.”

A first sergeant's core duty is to safeguard the welfare of Moody Airmen, ensuring their readiness for mission success in every aspect of their lives.

“What motivates me to be a first sergeant is caring for people –some words I live by are if not me then who,” said Master Sgt. Ronald Williams, 23rd Munitions Squadron first sergeant. “I look around and see people who don’t necessarily care and that’s what drives me to keep on doing it.”

By fostering a culture of professionalism and care, the symposium not only prepares potential first sergeants for the challenges ahead but also allows them to determine if the role aligns with their strengths and aspirations.

To sign up for the next symposium, contact your unit first sergeant.