FTAC prepares new Airmen for success
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Junior enlisted Airmen who have graduated technical school and recently arrived on Andersen for permanent duty attend a course here to familiarize themselves with their new base and career.
In the past, when an Airman arrived at their first base, a newly appointed supervisor would take them to different agencies on base to get them in-processed.
"It proved to be a challenging task," said Master Sgt. Cameron Leslie, 36th Force Support Squadron base career assistance advisor. "Sometimes coordination with other agencies would fall through or supervisors found it difficult to get work done with their Airmen being pulled from the jobsite to attend mandatory meetings."
To streamline and standardize this practice, the Air Force created First Term Airmen Centers. Now, multiple Airmen can in-process at the same time in one place, rather than running around base trying to coordinate meetings and appointments with a multitude of different agencies.
"It helps more Airmen more efficiently and on a more systematic schedule," Leslie said. "It's a 'one-stop-shop' to in-process Airmen into their first base."
Between 12 and 16 Airmen attend each class, meaning approximately 200 Airmen attend per year.
During the week-long course which takes place once a month, Airmen are briefed about topics including financial management, resiliency, safety, educational benefits and volunteer opportunities.
"I especially enjoy teaching resiliency; the Airmen are usually thousands of miles away from anything familiar and resiliency teaches them how to manage," Leslie said. "It's not me briefing; it's not a presentation. It's me interacting with Airmen, getting to know what makes them tick and being able to give them tools to help them better themselves."
Airmen are not the only ones who benefit from this program. NCOs, base leaders and other Airmen on base can participate and learn valuable skills during FTAC.
Each class is led by an NCO who is selected to leave their work center and facilitate the FTAC program. They are tasked with presenting briefings and leading physical training sessions. Leslie said it gives them a chance to step outside their comfort zones, sharpen their public speaking skills and to develop their abilities to connect with junior Airmen thus making them more prepared and effective supervisors.
"FTAC provides Airmen tools that they need to succeed within their units without allocating too many resources from that unit," Leslie said. "It prepares Airmen for the operational Air Force without having to detract too much from the mission." FTAC graduates are Airmen with the tools for increasing resiliency and combat readiness. As our critical enablers, these Airmen support the 36th Wing in our "Fight Tonight" posture.