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Top 3 looks to expand active membership

  • Published
  • By Victoria Brayton and Staff Sgt. Tonnette Thompson
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
From barbecue luncheons to mess-dress banquets, from mentoring young Airmen to welcoming young sergeants into the fold, many functions taking place across Sheppard are in some way touched by the Top 3. 

This organization, made up of senior NCOs across the base, organizes a variety of programs and events. More than anything, Top 3 efforts are geared toward helping junior NCOs and Airmen become aware of their responsibilities, options and potential. Through such support and guidance, the Top 3 hopes their work will be recognized in the form of new members. 

The Sheppard Top 3 is open to any master, senior master and chief master sergeant on base. 

"(I find a) personal satisfaction in being able to contribute to the base, to give back, and hopefully the people that make master will want to do that (as well,)" said Senior Master Sergeant Charles Woske, member of the Top 3 and head of the Lunch and Learn program. 

The Lunch and Learn program features guest speakers who open discussion on numerous topics, anything from proper wear of the uniform to the impact the new fitness regulations can have on one's career. The next lunch, scheduled for July 19, will have a panel of veterans who'll share their experiences with the attendees. 

"We try to shake things up a little bit and not just talk about writing reports," Sergeant Woske said. He hopes, as does the rest of the Top 3, that shedding light on such topics will encourage people to attend these functions and get the information out to other Airmen. 

Aside from Lunch and Learn, some of the programs the Top 3 sponsors or organizes include the Senior NCO Induction ceremony and the Annual 82nd Training Wing Awards, a huge event that can boast almost 950 attendees. 

Though these events' main purpose involves opportunities for recognition, dining and/or socializing, the underlying intent, especially for the Top 3, is to make younger sergeants and Airmen aware of the Top 3's presence and concern for their welfare. 

"It's a chance for the senior NCO's to meet and share personal experience and expertise with the lower ranks," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeannie McLean, 82nd TRW command chief, in regards to the Top 3's overall purpose. "It provides them a chance for camaraderie, esprit de corps and the tools they need to become great leaders for tomorrow." 

One of the Top 3's more obvious attempts to reach out to the younger generation is through the Airman Leadership School. Top 3 members regularly give briefings on diverse subjects, and do their best to acquaint the Airmen with leadership and base information. 

The ultimate goal of the Top 3 is to see those very same junior enlisted members that they oversee decide to join their ranks, both in terms of senior NCO status and Top 3 membership. The latter is especially crucial, as Top 3 membership isn't as high as their president feels it could be. 

According to Top 3 president, Master Sgt. Jake Heis, although there are approximately 400 senior enlisted members at Sheppard, only about 100 attend the Top 3's monthly meetings. One possible way to rectify that, he said, is to have more Top 3 involvement base-wide, even in activities not sponsored by the group. 

"I'm a very proactive person," he said. "I look for what's missing - let's see what we can do to fill that gap." 

So perhaps Sheppard will see a lot more Top 3 influence in picnics, open forums, award ceremonies and banquets in the future. 

The Top 3 meet on the second Tuesday of every month, 3:30 p.m. at Tommy D's at the Sheppard Club.