SNCOs attend First Sergeant Symposium Published Feb. 28, 2007 By Master Sgt. Ann Bennett 36th Wing Public Affairs ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Forty Andersen senior non-commissioned officers attended a First Sergeant Symposium here Feb. 5-9 to learn the fundamentals of being effective first sergeants. The attendees were volunteers who either fill in as first sergeants in their squadrons or have a desire to be a first sergeant. "There is always a need for this type of training," said Master Sgt. Joe Barry, 734th Air Mobility Squadron first sergeant and organizer of this event. "First sergeants have to deal with many different issues and agencies. Having this symposium here for additional duty first sergeants allowed the attendees to interact with each other and the instructor in a classroom environment." The symposium, held in the 36th Security Forces Squadron training room, covered a variety of topics to include family care issues, readiness and the military justice system. Sergeant Barry explained that the U.S. Air Force First Sergeant Academy at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala., did not have a class in January. So Chief Master Sgt. Robert Wicks, 36th Wing command chief master sergeant, along with Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Bishop, the command chief master sergeant for Pacific Air Forces, requested that the academy send instructors to the Pacific to conduct training. Senior Master Sgt. Gregory Day, an instructor from the First Sergeant Academy came here to provide this additional duty first sergeant training to Andersen Airmen, while Instructors Senior Master Sgts. Scott Fuller, Thomas Bragg and David Henry taught the seminar at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. "This is the type of training that enhances a senior NCO's ability to lead Airmen and take care of issues that affect readiness and mission accomplishment," said Senior Master Sergeant Day. According to Master Sergeant Barry, "This training is not a substitute for the First Sergeant Academy. Members who elect to become Shirts still have to attend the Shirt Academy which is a month-long course." Master Sergeant Barry said he is confident that there will be future symposiums here at Andersen for this type of training. "We have received some very positive feedback from the senior NCOs that attended this course." One attendee, Master Sgt. Jose Magana who is the acting first sergeant for the 36th Mission Support Squadron, said it gave him a better understanding of what's expected of first sergeants. "As an additional duty first sergeant, instead of going in clueless, I now have a better understanding of what's expected of me." He noted that he will still be learning as he goes, but he is thankful for the opportunity to get this much-needed training.