by Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
3/20/2015 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- When
an Airman arrives to their first base, starting over again can be
frightening. Being placed in an environment where they don't know anyone
or what to expect can make it difficult to focus on learning the job.
Pushing through approximately 700 Airmen a year, the first term Airman's
course was designed to help alleviate nervousness and guide Airmen
through their transition from technical training to the operational Air
"When I first took over, the first term Airman's course was seen as
massive in-processing that gave units their Airmen back ready to go to
work," said Master Sgt. Daniel Mueller, 5th Force Support Squadron
career assistance advisor.
During the five day course, Airmen receive briefings from organizations
such as Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Equal Opportunity and
the Airman and Family Readiness Center, where they learn about the rules
of the base, resiliency, budgeting, and the many opportunities the base
has to offer.
"What I love the most about FTAC is just realizing the various options
you have on base," said Airman 1st Class Sheena Subido, 5th Security
Forces Squadron member. "Everything from volunteering to the free and
inexpensive things provided to single Airmen. There's always something
Knowledge of the base and assistance with in-processing is still the number one intent of FTAC, Mueller said.
However, another main goal is to put Airmen at their first base with
other Airmen who are in a similar situation and have them make
connections with people from different jobs.
"It was nice getting to meet someone other than the Airmen from tech
school," Subido said. "I met maintainers, crew chiefs, and medical and
services personnel; I had no idea there were so many other jobs here in
For Mueller, who attended the course approximately 15 years ago, the
most important thing is the long term friendships that help get you
"They're going to go through the hardships of being at their first base,
learning their job and being away from home, but they will produce
these long-lasting friendships," Mueller said. "I still talk to at least
five people I met when I went through FTAC at Canon Air Force Base, New
Aside from the first-term Airmen, a senior airman is assigned to the
course as well to hold the position of FTAC team lead. This provides
them the opportunity to lead the class and interact with the Airmen.
"There are few opportunities for Airmen on an installation to do
something similar to a special duty assignment," Mueller said. "Through
this they get leadership experience; meet the commanders and command
chiefs; and send e-mails base-wide to every first sergeant. These skills
The current FTAC team lead, Senior Airman Elijah Perryman, has been at
Minot for over two years. With his usual job being an Electro Mechanical
Team technician at the 91st Missile Maintenance Squadron, this
opportunity to try something different has allowed him to receive
experience he normally wouldn't get.
"Through this experience I've learned to better myself from a professional standpoint," Perryman said.
Although he has already taken FTAC, Perryman said he is still able to
benefit from being involved with the course. Most importantly, he gained
knowledge that he can pass on to his peers.
"Things change over time, so every day I learn something new," Perryman
said. "Next time someone asks me a question I can give them information
or point them to the right people."
Aside from the plethora of pamphlets and informative briefings, Airmen
now have a face to put with a name for anything they may need in the
"I hope after they get all of their briefings, if they take nothing else
from this, I want these Airmen to recognize that the Air Force has
invested time and money to ensure they have resources for anything that
they could need," Mueller said. "It's all about them knowing that they
joined an organization that truly cares about their well-being."