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NEWS | Aug. 10, 2016

First Sergeants get down to business

By Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Langley First Sergeant Council members took part in an annual off-site event Aug. 4 through Aug. 6 as a way to reconnect and network with fellow first sergeants.


“It’s really important that we do this every year, so we can go over our bi-laws to make sure we’re on the right track, vote for our new council and spend some quality time getting to know each other,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Richard Chwalik, 633rd Security Forces Squadron first sergeant and Langley First Sergeants Council’s newest president. “The team building events we organized and participated in were a great way for us to work together and learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we can grow as an organization.”


On Thursday, the first sergeants participated in team building events such as a team scavenger hunt, which was followed by a review of their bi-laws. The following day they traveled to Norfolk, Virginia to tour a naval ship with U.S. Navy leadership and learn about their leadership styles.


“Every branch does things differently so it was cool to bring that side to the Air Force and maybe give us a different perspective,” said Master Sergeant Steven Thomas, 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant. “In return we got to share our Air Force knowledge with them so we all have a chance to grow.”


The final portion of the annual off-site event included a cook out at Eagle Park on Langley Air Force Base, Virginia on Saturday as a way for the first sergeants to connect with each other’s families. This event helps first sergeants transition into their next major event, the bi-annual First Sergeant Symposium, scheduled for Sept. 12 through 16.


The symposium will include presentations about first sergeant responsibilities, including family care plans, administrative actions and counseling.


Thomas, who went through the symposium a few years ago, will be one of the first sergeants teaching at the four-day event next month.


“When you teach things, you learn things as well, so it will be an experience and a chance to learn from the other first sergeants,” said Thomas. “I would encourage anyone interested in becoming a first sergeant to contact their first sergeant to register and attend.”


During the symposium, Airmen interested in serving as first sergeants are given an in-depth look into what life is like in the special duty position.


“Being a first sergeant is a rewarding but tough job, so it’s not for everyone,” said Chwalik. “This symposium will give master sergeants, master sergeant selects and even motivated technical sergeants the information they need if they want to do something outside their career field and have a desire to become a first sergeant.”