131st Bomb Wing hosts seminar for additional duty first sergeants

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kelly Ferguson
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Over 40 experienced noncommissioned officers from across the Air National Guard gathered at the Deployment Center here to reap the educational benefits of an Additional Duty First Sergeant Seminar (ADFSS) hosted by the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing Feb. 8-10, 2022.

The seminar is designed to introduce additional duty first sergeants to a more strategic level of training and understanding the roles and responsibilities of a first sergeant.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been to an additional duty first sergeant seminar with representation from this many states at one time,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kevin L. Myers, the Air National Guard first sergeant functional area manager. “I think it’s awesome that this many senior leaders and command chiefs from across the Air National Guard saw the advertisement for this seminar and decided to send their additional duty first sergeants. Missouri is one of the states that I think does a really good job of training, development and education of additional duty first sergeants.”

This year’s seminar has seen participants from across the nation take part in the event, and boasts the largest class size so far. The wing plans to increase the number of available seats in future iterations of the course. Since the course’s inception in 2017, the 131st Bomb Wing has returned over 130 highly-trained ADFSS graduates to their home units.

“This is that initial baseline introduction or peek behind the curtain of what a first sergeant is going to be presented with, and what they are expected to be aware of,” said Myers. “This event’s purpose is to expose, educate, inform and empower additional duty first sergeants to serve fully in their roles.”

Several currently serving first sergeants, officers, senior NCOs and government service civilians from the 131st and 509th Bomb Wings led the training through a multitude of classes, activities and role-playing scenarios. Seminar classes covered subjects such as command responsibilities, equal opportunity, dealing with sexual abuse or harassment and counseling to name only a few. Instructors designed their classes to help those looking to become additional duty first sergeants work with, and for, the Airmen in their varying units.

The seminar gives the 131st Bomb Wing’s enlisted leadership the opportunity to provide their Airmen with various problem solving tools and resources.

“It’s not just topics, it’s also resources from the standpoint of the personnel that they, as additional duty first sergeants, are going to deal with,” said Chief Master Sgt. LeRoy McCardell Jr., command chief master sergeant of the 131st Bomb Wing.

Additional duty first sergeants are distinct in their willingness to fill a leadership role in addition to their main jobs within the Air National Guard. This requires them to take on more responsibility outside of their usual job.

“We want our team members comfortable in that role of being an additional duty first sergeant,” said McCardell. “When they have confidence in what their role and their responsibilities are, and they feel like they are supported and well equipped, that makes them better at their job and it makes things better for our Airmen and our command teams.”

The interest in training and preparing those who volunteer their time to become additional duty first sergeants has made an impact over the short time the 131st Bomb Wing has been hosting the seminar.

“We did the seminar originally to make sure that our team was equipped,” said McCardell. “But then it became something that was greater than us… it became, ‘hey, look, we want to invest in every single person who walks in here.’”

McCardell spoke on how the seminar brings together the strongest parts of the Air National Guard’s leadership teams to enhance future leaders. It gives those involved the tools and resources to do their job well and to learn from members who have already taken on a leadership role.

In conjunction, Myers states how leadership is one of the most important skills the individuals involved in the ADFSS can come away with.

“Even though some of the participants may never put the diamond on, they can still be exposed to some leadership principles,” said Myers. “They can then go back and lead Airmen in a different capacity outside of being a first sergeant. They can now become a strategic leader and a strategic partner with fellow NCOs, fellow junior Airmen and fellow senior NCOs. If they’re getting nothing else but leadership, I think that’s a win.”