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Symposium gives Airmen insight on being a first sergeant

U.S. Air Force first sergeants answer questions from Airmen at the end of the First Sergeant Symposium at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 2. The symposium informed Airmen on the roles and responsibilities of first sergeants so they can decide if they want to become a first sergeant during their career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

U.S. Air Force first sergeants answer questions from Airmen at the end of the First Sergeant Symposium at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 2. The symposium informed Airmen on the roles and responsibilities of first sergeants so they can decide if they want to become a first sergeant during their career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

(Left) U.S. Air Force Maj. Andrew Glindmeyer, 8th Maintenance Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Jacob Foley, 8th Security Forces Squadron commander and Maj. Dustin Burleson, 8th Communications Squadron commander, answer questions from Airmen during the First Sergeant Symposium at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 2. The commanders also talked to the Airmen about what a commander needs from their first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

(Left) U.S. Air Force Maj. Andrew Glindmeyer, 8th Maintenance Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Jacob Foley, 8th Security Forces Squadron commander and Maj. Dustin Burleson, 8th Communications Squadron commander, answer questions from Airmen during the First Sergeant Symposium at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 2. The commanders also talked to the Airmen about what a commander needs from their first sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

U.S. Air Force Col. Tad Clark, 8th Fighter Wing commander, speaks with the First Sergeant Symposium Class at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 2. During his speech, Clark told the audience that he wants them to make sure to take care of and cultivate the Airmen that serve under them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

U.S. Air Force Col. Tad Clark, 8th Fighter Wing commander, speaks with the First Sergeant Symposium Class at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 2. During his speech, Clark told the audience that he wants them to make sure to take care of and cultivate the Airmen that serve under them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --

First sergeants from across base gathered hopeful tech sergeants and master sergeants who are interested in becoming a first sergeant during a four-day course Oct. 1 to 4.

The First Sergeant Symposium offered an in depth look for 45 individuals about the inner workings of the special duty.

“We have each unit’s first sergeant vector the people who are going to attend the course, because we want people that we think are capable of becoming a first sergeant when they leave this symposium,” said Master Sgt. James Drybola, 8th Communications Squadron first sergeant. “We hope that when they leave this course, they have a basic framework of the duties of a first sergeant and the relationship a first sergeant has with their commander and support agencies on base.”

Over the four days, these individuals learned from different agencies around base and how they can help the Airmen they supervise. Some of the agencies that gave insight included equal opportunity, the area defense council and the Airmen and Family Readiness Center.

The individuals also received the chance to bounce questions off of a panel made up of chiefs and learned expectations from several commanders including Col. Tad Clark, 8th Fighter Wing commander.

“I ask you all to take a look in the mirror, and challenge yourself to be the subject matter experts, be war fighters, be loving and respectful,” said Clark. “I really need you to spend time connecting to your Airmen and your team. Be the type of person that leaves a lasting legacy.”

Toward the end of the class, the individuals learned about how first sergeants aid in the discipline process and how heavy the responsibility of being a first sergeant can be at times.

“This was a great course and they had some people come in and share their troubled stories and how things played out,” said Tech. Sgt. Charles Geiser, 8th Operations Support Squadron air field equipment lead trainer. “After this course, I’m not sure if I’m ready to be a first sergeant or not yet. This class has given me a lot to think about. I want to dig into the regulations and find out if I’m the right fit for this now.”

The 8th FW first sergeants host this four-day symposium two times per year. They hope these workshops provide enough insight to help interested enlisted leaders learn what the job is really about and even make a decision on whether or not to become a first sergeant.