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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | Dec. 22, 2023

First sergeant symposium: Supporting the next generation of leaders

By Airman 1st Class Martha Moore | 316th Wing Public Affairs

The 316th Wing hosted the Air Force District of Washington’s First Sergeant Symposium, allowing senior leaders and support services a platform to offer insight to additional duty first sergeants about the integral role they play in Airmen’s lives, Dec. 4-8.

Throughout the week-long event, participants gained firsthand insights into the multifaceted responsibilities of a first sergeant, emphasizing their role as a bridge between commanders and Airmen. Additionally, first sergeants serve as vital connectors to resources beneficial not only to the Airmen but also their families.

While participants at this symposium may only temporarily take on the role of first sergeant, they were empowered to bring their diversity of skills gained throughout their career to reach Airmen of all career fields.

“As first sergeants, we’re all trying to bring what we can from our prior career field,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Candi Schneider, U.S. Space Force service advisor and first sergeant. “For example, I try to think of what I can bring as a personnel specialist to you as a cyberspace Airman.”

The symposium stressed the need for swift and decisive action when crises arise, underlining the important role of a first sergeant.

“When you wear that diamond, no one knows if you’ve been a shirt for five years or five minutes,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Noah Bliss, 89th Airlift Wing command chief. “If something happens, you’re the one with the phone.”