Grissom welcomes first full-time first sergeant

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Rachel Barton
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing public affairs

An additional duty proved to be a historical springboard for one Grissom member.

Master Sergeant Benjamin Mota, 434th Air Refueling Wing public affairs superintendent made history by being selected as the first full-time first sergeant for the wing.

Mota will become an Active Guard/Reserve first sergeant for the 434th ARW, upon completion of the month long First Sergeant’s Academy at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. On drill weekends, he will serve as the 434th Force Support Squadron’s First Sergeant.

The decision was made at Grissom to hire an AGR First Sergeant to better serve approximately 150 AGR Airmen that perform duty on a full-time basis at Grissom. It is the job of the first sergeant to promote a professional culture within the ranks and provide resources to resolve issues impacting readiness.

“It’s an honor to be selected,” Mota said. “I have had first sergeants who have mentored me during my career and it has always driven me to be a first sergeant. I believe you take care of the next individual just like your mentors took care of you.”

Grissom has about 10 first sergeants who are traditional reservists. They primarily support the wing on drill weekends and during their two weeks of annual tour. Often times there is not a first sergeant on the base during the week.

“Any time there’s an issue during the week, if that section’s first sergeant isn’t here I’ll be able to support the unit and handle the situation,” said Mota. “When their first sergeant is here then I’ll pass it over to them.”

Despite popular belief, first a sergeant’s primary goal is not to be a disciplinarian. Their mission is to promote a professional culture within the ranks.

“If there are issues that occur among the enlisted ranks we come up with solutions and help people out,” said Mota “We also help with disciplinary issues but that’s not our primary focus. We’re here to help, so if you are going through disciplinary issues we might be there for that but our goal is to get you back on the right track.”

He was selected from the candidates by Chief Master Sergeant Nathan Parks, 434th Air Refueling Wing command chief.

“What I look for in a first sergeant is someone who leads by example, not only in their careers but also in their lives. They have the qualities of a leader and mentor,” said Parks.  “Even if we didn’t make him a first sergeant he already lives as one.”

Mota has a background as a training manager and has been the superintendent of the public affairs office for several years. He has also acted as an additional duty first sergeant for the past 3 years, which he thinks made him a good fit for the position.

“One thing I really want to promote is awards,” said Mota. “I would like to see each section submitting an Airman for quarterly awards and I will push hard for that on my end. I want to make sure Airmen are getting recognized for their accomplishments through awards.”

He added that he wants to ensure airmen receive the training that they are supposed to in their careers and that units meet the required readiness numbers. He will be available to assist with professional military education or providing guidance on promotion packages so that no airman stagnates in their military career.