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FTAC: Preparing Airmen to be mission ready

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Carissa Morgan
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
"I don't see why we have to go through FTAC. It's all stuff we learned when we were in basic," said an Airman enrolled in the class. The truth is the First Term Airmen's Center isn't just a repeat of things Airmen were taught in basic, it orientates Airmen to the policies, procedures and services at Andersen. 

FTAC is an essential tool for preparing new airmen to become mission ready. 

"First Term Airmen Centers are designed to transition first duty station airmen from a training environment to a mission-oriented environment," said Tech. Sgt. Cristina Dixon, the non commissioned officer in charge of FTAC. "FTAC provides a means of inprocessing airmen with a solid foundation of base and ancillary training programs and briefings in order to prepare them to become mission ready airmen in a minimum amount of time," she said. 

FTAC is a ten day course that consists of a series of briefings, which ranging from fire safety and prevention to finances. The class consists of eight to 22 first-term airmen who have recently arrived on Andersen Air Force Base. 

Each class is identified by it's class number, for example, the class that graduated April 17 was called FTAC Class April 4-17, said Sgt. Dixon. 

"If in any given scheduled class goes under the six student airmen, we post-pone the session until the next available one," said Sergeant Dixon. "Our classroom can hold up to 30 students, however, the largest class I've been in charge of has been 20 students," she said. 

Supervisors can sign up their troop through their unit Commander's Support Staff, said Sgt. Dixon. The CSS are responsible for signing up First Term Airmen upon their arrival to Andersen AFB, she said. 

FTAC has a wide variety of briefings. 

As a minimum the following topics must be included: base-level inprocessing briefings, such as military personnel, finance, off-duty education, family support center, personal financial management, TRICARE, disaster preparedness, safety, ORM, equal opportunity and treatment/human relations, ADAPT, and mission orientation briefing said Sgt. Dixon. She continued, although the following topics are taught or introduced at Basic Military Training, they are highly encouraged for continued emphasis: UCMJ, dress and appearance, customs and courtesies, EAF and Air Force Core Values. 

Even though we have a set schedule prepared in advance for each class, sometimes it has to change, said Sergeant Dixon. For example, with the class that just graduated, the class start date changed from April 2 to April 4 due to Typhoon Kong-Rey. Our schedule, though confirmed remained flexible to wing, MAJCOM or higher needs, or Mother Nature demands, she said. 

Some changes have taken place in the course over it's time here at Andersen.
Since she took over in August 2006, Sergeant Dixon said FTAC's course-load has increased. The expansion includes briefings on the Global War on Terrorism, Air Force Expeditionary/Expeditionary Aerospace Force, IDEA program, fire prevention, re-energized the Airmen Panel and added the Hot Spot Tour. 

"In our near future, we hope to add more hands on training to better equip our first termers with operational requirements like more computer access for computer based training," she said. 

Programs are constantly changing within the Air Force and FTAC is no different.
"With our country at war, there are a lot of cuts being made and our FTAC program is not immune. HQ PACAF has projected the FTAC NCOIC position to be cut by 2011," said Sgt. Dixon. "We are working with base leaders in tailoring our program to the needs of the base, there maybe more readiness type training infused with the existing program, within the year," she said. 

First term airmen have to complete this course and with good reason, said Sergeant Dixon. 

"I love what I do for the Air Force," said Sergeant Dixon. "With each FTAC class, I get an opportunity to help mentor, demonstrate core values and serve as a positive role model to our newest members of the Air Force," she said. 

"I wish we did have something like FTAC, but at my time our country was not at war-now it's different, with all the conflicts, wars and deployments, this program is now a necessity," said Sgt. Dixon. "It is also a great quality of life for new airmen to help their transition into our Air Force," she said.

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