KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Even with the word first in your title, you may not expect to be first to do a lot of things. But for one 403rd Wing first sergeant, being the first in something is what he did, just not the way you may think.
Master Sgt. Jared Bryant is the first sergeant for the 403rd Force Support Squadron, and no, he isn’t the first to be in that position; but as an Active Guard Reserve member, he is the first full-time first sergeant to work at the 403rd Wing.
As a first sergeant, first shirt, or “shirt”, his primary duty is to take care of the Reserve Citizen Airman, to be the one person an Airman can turn to when he or she needs serious help.
Before becoming a first sergeant, Bryant started his Reserve career as an in-service recruiter in November 2015 and said that he enjoyed working with people, helping them get in the service and getting them the great benefits that come with serving.
“But I wanted to take the next step and care for them after they got in,” he said. “I always had an interest in being a first sergeant, so this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.”
During the 403rd Wing Unit Training Assembly weekends, his job is to take care of the Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 403rd FSS, Wing Staff, and the Communications Flight. But for the rest of the month he is available to handle issues that come up for any Airman, supervisor, or commander that needs assistance.
He said, “Throughout the month, I still serve as the FSS first sergeant, but I also serve as the 403rd Wing’s Resiliency First Sergeant.”
The AGR first sergeant position came about as a way to be proactive in the whole concept of resiliency for Reserve Citizen Airmen by providing them a “shirt” they can turn to when their regular squadron first shirt cannot always be available as a traditional reservist.
“I am here for anyone within the wing to come see me,” said Bryant. “It doesn’t matter what status they are in.”
Chief Master Sgt. Barbara Gilmore, 403rd Wing command chief, said that the AGR position was created to help take the pressure off of the TR first sergeants during the month when they are handling their home life, family and civilian careers, plus they are not getting paid since they aren’t in military status.
“By having Bryant here full-time throughout the week, he can handle anything needing immediate attention that comes up,” said Gilmore. “He also keeps the appropriate first sergeant in the loop on what is going on. Communication is the key to making this work.”
Another aspect of being a first sergeant is to provide guidance to the unit commander on matters of the enlisted members morale, welfare, and conduct.
“Being an AGR means, I am here during the month so that if a commander needs immediate action, they can call me,” said Bryant. “Then I can take care of it, provide guidance, feedback and assistance until their first sergeant can be here to assume the role. I am here to help out any way that I can.”