Osan hosts Fall First Sergeant's Symposium

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Thomas Sjoberg
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 51st Fighter Wing First Sergeant’s Council hosted the fall 2023 First Sergeant’s Symposium at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, from Oct. 16-20, 2023.

This is the second symposium of the year, providing interested noncommissioned, senior noncommissioned and commissioned officers, the opportunity to learn about the position and receive firsthand mentorship from experienced first sergeants.

This week-long course provided an opportunity for first sergeants around Osan to mentor, supervise and teach NCOs and SNCOs, about how to operate in the position and allow them to handle real scenarios.

“The main responsibility of a first sergeant is to maintain the morale, wellness and readiness of the unit,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Patrick Blizzard, 51st FW Comptroller Squadron and Wing Staff Agency first sergeant. “The other side of that is advising the commander on how the unit is performing in those areas.”

This training is designed to empower and equip volunteers for the crucial role of a first sergeant while enhancing their leadership skills for guiding Airmen within their workplaces. Additionally, the symposium offers specialized training for individuals interested in serving as temporary, additional duty first sergeants, providing valuable support without assuming a permanent role. Attendees also gained insight into the resources available to support their Airmen.

“The biggest thing that most people get out of the symposium is learning about all of the support agencies,” said Blizzard. “Before my first symposium, I didn’t know what family advocacy did or what the chaplain did outside of their religious role. Now that I know, it is something that I can recommend to my Airmen who may need them as a resource.”

In addition to preparation for the role, the symposium served as a networking opportunity for those who are interested in branching out in their careers and leading Airmen in a different way than they normally would.

“If you want to be a first sergeant, this is a great foot in the door,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Dawson, 51st Medical Operational Readiness Squadron dental lab technician. “When leadership looks at picking up new first sergeants, experience never hurts, so having the early experience will help you be the best first sergeant you can be for your squadron when it comes time to put on the diamond.”

The symposium offered opportunities for personal and professional growth, while also equipping the audience with valuable leadership tools, creating a positive and productive experience for all participants.

“I would highly recommend it to anyone with aspirations to becoming a first sergeant or even anyone just curious,” said Tech. Sgt. Colin Sullivan, 51st FW command post noncommissioned officer in charge of command-and-control operations reports. “Even just peeking behind the curtain to see how leadership handles decisions can be a huge benefit.”