Diamond in the rough: expanded additional duty training is a success

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alex Lowe
  • 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The first sergeants of Westover expanded the reach of their local additional-duty training over the course of a three-day symposium, Nov. 3-5.

This is the third annual local training, but the first open to technical sergeants and above, who have not already been selected as additional-duty first sergeants.

This change gives an opportunity to those in senior leadership positions to get insight on what resources and responsibilities ‘diamond’ wearing sergeants have. It serves as a source of professional development that they can bring back to their units and helps service members determine if they should apply for an additional duty or full-time position as first sergeants. The change has shown a large increase in attendance.

“This was a phenomenal turnout,” said Master Sgt. Ean Larson, 439th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron first sergeant. “Historically, the last two years we had less than 20 at each training; and this year we have 42 members participating.”

Westover offers the same material that is taught at the First Sergeant Academy, but with easier access and less strain on budget. Instead of waiting with active duty and National Guard for temporary duty orders and slots at the academy, Westover reservists are able to complete the training on base while on annual tour.

At the symposium, some of the activities included possible counseling and confrontation scenarios, administrative and disciplinary actions, as well as bringing guest speakers of resources and contacts available to first sergeants. Some of these services included the chaplain service, Airmen Family and Readiness and the Office of Special Investigations.

The success of the local training has even reached outside of Westover, as this year also included a member from Barnes Air National Guard Base. The positive reaction is being considered while preparing for next year’s training.

“We wanted to trial it first by expanding the class to the wing,” said Senior Master Sgt. Reid Sindelar,  439th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant. “It was such a good success. We will talk as a council, but the vision is to expand to local bases.”

If you are interested in becoming a first sergeant full-time or as an additional duty, you can reach out to your first sergeant for more information on the process and next year’s class.