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First term Airmen get a good start

Airman 1st Class Gary Patterson from the 45th Security Forces Squadron reads a book to pre-school children as part of a community involvement effort created by the First Term Airmen Course.  The three and four-year-old children were thrilled to have a visitor come to their class. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Lisa Luse')

Airman 1st Class Gary Patterson from the 45th Security Forces Squadron reads a book to pre-school children as part of a community involvement effort created by the First Term Airmen Course. The three and four-year-old children were thrilled to have a visitor come to their class. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Lisa Luse')

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In the civilian world, employees who start a new job typically begin their first day by visiting the Human Resources Department. They start by filling out papers to initiate their W-2 information, health insurance and other important documents. In many cases the new employees transition right into their jobs with little familiarization training.

In 1977, Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Estrem, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., established the First Term Airmen Class to create a group of airmen to do tasks such as cleaning, painting and mowing the grass when contractors were not available.

The program eventually evolved into a way for first term airmen to focus on mandatory administrative goals and then return to the work station to begin on the job training. Before the concept of FTAC came along, it was difficult for a supervisor to remain consistent with the "on the job training" while their new troop was in and out of the work place.

The FTAC was established to provide an easy way to transition to their first duty station. In the past, first term airmen would report to their base and soon have to leave to attend various appointments for in-processing.

FTAC allows the airmen to accomplish in-processing that includes finance, medical and legal briefings in two-weeks rather than over a period of several months. The first day of the class is focused on mission briefings from various subject matter experts on the base.

"In addition, they participate in tours throughout the base to familiarize themselves with the available resources," said Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Hernandez, 45th Space Wing FTAC non commissioned officer in charge.

"I'm trying to encourage more base and community involvement with these Airmen," said Sergeant Hernandez. "One of the places we are becoming more involved with is the Child Development Center (CDC)."

This month's class split up into groups and visited separate classrooms at the CDC. Each one had at least two books in their hands to read to the children. "I've never read to children before, it was cool," said Airman 1st Class Michael Boll, seismic analyst, 45th SW Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC). Airman Boll, a native of Oak-Lawn, Ill., joined the Air Force to continue his education.
The 45th SW FTAC office receives a list of the names of the airmen who are due to arrive at the base every month. The classes are set up to begin the second week of the month.