Cultivating selfless leaders – Indiana First Sergeant symposium

  • Published
  • By Josh Weaver

First sergeants from across the state of Indiana came together to hold a first sergeant symposium March 11-14, 2024, at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, aimed at shaping the next generation of leaders.

Throughout the week-long symposium, participants gained firsthand knowledge about the diverse responsibilities of a first sergeant, emphasizing their crucial position as a vital connection between commanders and Airmen. Additionally, first sergeants play a key role in linking Airmen and their families to essential resources.

Master Sgt. Ben Mota, 434th Air Refueling Wing first sergeant, highlighted the symposium's purpose, emphasizing the recruitment and training of potential replacements.

“This symposium is not only a great networking opportunity,” said Mota, “but it also allows our future leaders to see just how difficult, yet rewarding being a first sergeant can be.”

The symposium assembled support agencies and seasoned first sergeants from the 434th Air Refueling Wing, 122nd Fighter Wing, and 181st Intelligence Wing to share their expertise and ensure aspiring additional duty first sergeants are well-prepared. Participants were exposed to a variety of challenges and scenarios beyond their usual career paths.

The symposium emphasized the significance of swift and decisive action during crises, stressing the critical role of a first sergeant.

"When you wear that diamond, no one knows whether you've been a shirt for five years or five minutes," said Mota. "In emergencies, you are the one people look to for help and guidance."