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Starting your career on the right foot, with the right attitude

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Clayton Schoepflin
  • 90th Missile Wing career assistance advisor
There is little doubt when many of us entered the Air Force, we might have struggled to some degree trying to adjust to our new permanent duty station and a new way of life. In some cases it might have been difficult to find our way around or understand what to do when faced with adversity. Today, however, there is relief to those attempting to start off on the right foot and face challenges with the right attitude.

The First Term Airman Center is a pivotal point in a young Airman's career. With participation among 31 unique organizations across the wing, Airmen are provided tools and information necessary to establish and develop a successful career. Airmen reporting to their first duty station are required to attend FTAC within 30 days of arriving on station; this is accomplished to ensure each member has been afforded the opportunity to harness ideas and skillsets to assist in a positive transition from the basic military training/technical training environment and prepare them for their future in the operational Air Force at F. E. Warren. Students participate in a five-day comprehensive course designed to walk them through fundamental and essential organizational programs. Careful consideration is taken into account when developing the FTAC curriculum, which Airmen will continue to use throughout their Air Force Career.

Wing organizations such as the Airman and Family Readiness Center offer First Term Airmen financial skills in areas such as car buying, Thrift Savings Plan, budget planning and how to be aware of problems with their leave and earnings statement. Many Airmen enter the service with few skills in budgeting and major purchases. To provide this information from the start is vital. Staying fit in today's Air Force is absolutely essential, so Airmen are offered ideas from the Health and Wellness Center to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be physically ready to accomplish the mission. They are given educational progress reports on what areas they have accomplished and what they need to achieve their Community College of the Air Force degree. Often times it is surprising to them of how little they have left to complete their degree. They are taught the importance of overcoming stressors through the Master Resiliency Training, a new program introduced to FTAC in January this year. Tools and ideas are instituted as an aid to help them "bounce back" from small events such as everyday problems, to large situations that could produce life altering effects. They gain information about the different organizations encompassing resources from morale, welfare and recreation, legal assistance, military equal opportunity and local environmental conditions/traffic safety. They also have the opportunity to meet the wing commander and the wing command chief to gain a leadership perspective from the top.

Airmen are presented with a vast amount of information about the base services and what F. E. Warren and the local area have to offer; however, they are also afforded more specific and career-guided information. The FTAC team leader, Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rouley, who has been assigned to FTAC for the past 6 months, illustrates the importance of the Enlisted Force Structure and what it means to be a follower and a leader at all levels. He instills the core values, providing an exceptional foundation for Airmen to establish and maintain a fluent and positive Air Force career. He strives to ensure all Airmen leave FTAC with the right attitude to make a personal difference in their life and an organizational impact in the wing.

The feedback at the end of the week from the Airmen is genuinely positive and many leave with the program feeling much more confident in their career and understanding the purpose of the wing mission and how they fit into it. FTAC has taken great strides in ensuring the best program is offered from every angle and there is no sign of slowing down. Currently, FTAC is going through changes in the curriculum and structure, but regardless of the changes, it will be accomplished with professionalism, pride and a positive attitude.