First-Term Airmen's Center helps new Airmen adjust

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ryan Whitney
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
For Airmen arriving at their first duty station, the weeks that follow their arrival can be very confusing and very stressful.

But with help from the First-Term Airmen's Course, the transition from a training environment to a mission-oriented environment has become a much smoother, more enjoyable progression.

FTAC is a required course for all first-term Airmen. The course provides a means of inprocessing Airmen with a solid foundation of training programs. It also contains briefings that will prepare Airmen to become mission ready in a minimum amount of time.

Although Air Force Instruction 36-2252 mandates the curriculum, the course does vary from base to base. "All bases touch on the same mandatory objectives, but with the briefings that are specific to each location, it's catered to the mission of that particular base," said Tech. Sgt. James Cook, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Nellis FTAC.

One of the primary differences at Nellis is the focus on warning Airmen of the dangers associated with Las Vegas, to include gambling, underage drinking, and drinking and driving.

A few of the topics covered during the 10-day course are operational security, computer-based training, operational risk management, proper wear of the uniform and personal financial management.

These topics aren't just slides being read aloud to the class. "We bring in subject matter experts from each office, which allows students to get the most accurate information available, straight from the horse's mouth," Sergeant Cook continued.

"We understand some of this [information] will be review, but for those who know it, the course refreshes the information, and it helps bring things like the air force core values and military etiquette back to the forefront of their minds," said Sergeant Cook,

But the course consists of more than class lectures. While at FTAC, Airmen will also go on a tour of many of the services facilities to help them get acquainted with their new home station.

"Airmen also start good friendships, and I think that's a very important part of this course, because we all have to band together as part of the Air Force family, and that's how we need to treat each other," Sergeant Cook said.

Nellis, which has many new Airmen arriving monthly, has a facility that will only house 40 Airmen. Because this is nearly three times the number of Airmen in FTAC at most bases, the Nellis course has a waiting period of about a month.

During this waiting period, first-term Airmen are encouraged to begin their CBT's and just get used to their jobs. "This would be a good time to get with your supervisor and do your initial feedback," said Sergeant Cook. "Supervisors should start setting their new Airman up for success."

Airman should also prepare a service dress uniform, which they are required to wear on the first day.

"All we ask is that they show up in their blue's on time and with a supervisor or unit representative," said Sergeant Cook.

"Anything else, we can fix once they get here, if they don't have a pen, I will let them have one of mine," he said light-heartedly.

"We put a lot of heart into this program and based on the feedback that we have received, the course works," said Sergeant Cook.

Although there is a large amount of stress and nervousness when new Airmen arrive at their first duty station, FTAC helps clear the fog of confusion for them so they will be able to better support the Air Force mission.