Program helps Airmen transition to Edwards

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class William O'Brien
  • 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
When I arrived at Edwards, it was the day after I graduated from technical school and I had not even been in the Air Force for five months. 

Needless to say, I was both excited and nervous. Being at my first-duty station, I was unsure of the expectations of the operational Air Force.

I kept trying to imagine what living here would be like. I was trying to cope with the fact that I wouldn't ever see most of the friends I made at technical school.

What I expected when I arrived was to be thrown into my office and be expected to proficiently do my job immediately. Instead my first day at the office my supervisor told me I would be going to the First Term Airmen Center to learn about the base, and that I would also be taught about how upgrade training is done.

The First Term Airmen Center is designed to calm those feelings that many Airmen upon arrival at their first duty station, and give them an opportunity to create friendships with others that are going through similar experiences.

The two-week course aims to assist Airmen in their transition into the operational Air Force by showing what services are available on base. The course also allows base officials from all major organizations to come and brief the Airmen on the opportunities available to them.

During FTAC, Airmen also learn what the mission is here and express any concerns they have with senior leadership. Meeting the senior leadership is a great benefit, because it gives Airmen an opportunity to see them as normal people. Allowing Airmen to ask questions to gain insight into what it takes to be successful in the Air Force.

Another beneficial aspect of FTAC is that it gives Airman a chance to get to know their peers. Since all the Airmen are new to the base, for most it's the first time they've interacted with people outside their office.

What I enjoyed most about FTAC was seeing the commitment that the senior leadership of the base has to the success of young Airmen. From the briefings, I learned of all the opportunities available here. I was also taught what an Airman needs to do to get his EPR to stand out from others.

I enjoyed FTAC because it was a good opportunity for Airmen, to learn a variety of things about our new base. It also gives Airmen a chance to meet new people. It familiarizes them with some of the base's senior leaders. 

The FTAC program helped ease my transition and I now have a better understanding of my role in the operational Air Force.