445th First Sergeants Council looks for ways to assist Airmen

  • Published
  • By Stacy Vaughn
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Although the 445th First Sergeants Council has gone through some changes recently with the recent re-election of new executive council members, the group continues to focus their attention on continuing to meet the needs of 445th Airmen, to include improving on that.

The 445th First Sergeants Council is made up of approximately 17 all diamond-wearing first sergeants and additional duty first sergeants in the wing and the new Intel squadrons. The first shirts and assistants (undershirts) meet during both unit training assemblies and are briefed on pertinent happenings in the wing and Air Force that concerns the morale and welfare of the wing's Airmen. The council shares leadership experiences and talk openly about how they solve problems faced in their squadrons. This type of forum allows members to benchmark off each other's processes.

Chief Master Sgt. Peri Rogowski, 445th Airlift Wing command chief, not only briefs the FSC on current issues and concerns in and outside the wing, but gives the group the chance to bring up concerns that need her escalating or if they need guidance and direction on something they are having problems resolving on their own.

"The FSC meetings are closed meetings. Discussions are broad in general, not specific. For example, no specific names are used but scenarios are given to give the group an overall broad idea of some of the issues some shirts are currently handling or have faced since the last meeting. Topics discussed are not only about wing issues but base, Air Force and reserve issues. These meetings allow the shirts to process and discuss the information plus gather information and come up with solutions to problems," Rogowski said.

Senior Master Sgt. Janet Wescott, 445th First Sergeants Council president/445th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron first sergeant, said with the diverse level of experience among the council members, there are times a newer first sergeant will have a challenge and the more experienced first sergeants help them through it. One unique aspect of the wing's council is they have a Chief First Sergeant (Chief Master Sgt. James Felton, Jr, 87th Aerial Port Squadron first sergeant). Not all councils have a chief as a first sergeant.

"Chief Felton was already a first sergeant when he was 'PEPed' to chief. He's a great mentor to our younger first sergeants," Rogowski said.

Rogowski pointed out that times have changed over the last 20 years with the diversity of first sergeants in the Air Force, breaking away from typical stereotype of a male FSC president, vice president and female secretary. The 445 FSC has a female president, vice president, treasurer and male secretary.

Wescott said having such a diverse of first sergeants to share issues and concerns with helps conquer challenges faced during the day-to-day role of a first sergeant. She said some of these challenges faced are not only work-related issues but personal issues facing their Airmen.

"Some of our Airmen may be facing tough challenges that we bring up at the meeting to work through the best solutions to help them. A good example is some of our Airmen are stressed out during the holidays. To help them and their families, we generate a list of names of those in need for Thanksgiving Baskets and the Adopt a Family for Christmas program," Wescott said.

Master Sgt. Glenda Marck, 445th FSC vice president/445th Operations Support Squadron first sergeant, said with the turnover of elected members on the board, the group is currently re-examining their constitution and bylaws and thinking of ways they can leave their mark on the wing to better serve the Airmen.

"We put on our diamond not for us but for our Airmen. We are always looking for ways to better improve meeting their needs," Marck said.

She said the council wants their name out there to let Airmen know who they are and that they are there for them.

Wescott said the council plans to invite guest speakers to future meetings to enlighten them on the vast array of resources out there that is available to help their airmen. Speaker topics would include training, chaplain services, PHAP, just to name a few.

"The more our first sergeants know about resources available to help our Airmen the better," Wescott said.

Airmen that have issues that they feel should be brought up to the council can contact either Wescott at (937) 257-8540 or Marck at (937) 257-8116.