By Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. Theresa Clapper, 2nd Bomb Wing command chief, briefs Airmen at the First Term Airmen Center at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 23, 2018. The command chief is in charge of the FTAC program and sees that all requirements are met to provide Airmen with information for a successful start to their careers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)
Airmen listen to a brief given at the First Term Airmen Center at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 23, 2018. FTAC is a time for Airmen to network and meet people outside of their work centers while they learn about the base and what it has to offer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)
A personal financial management folder lies on a desk at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Jan. 23, 2018. FTAC is packed with briefings to help first term Airmen adapt to the operational military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)
Every chapter has a beginning. For Barksdale’s new Airmen, their beginning is the First Term Airmen Center.
FTAC is designed to give Airmen a chance to learn everything they need to know about their new base, available programs.
During FTAC, Airmen are presented a time to adapt from the strict culture of basic training and technical school to the operational side of the military.
“The atmosphere in basic training and tech school is way different than here at Barksdale,” said Airman 1st Class Cole Peterson, 2nd Munitions Squadron missile maintenance technician. “We have more responsibilities and we have more freedom. FTAC is teaching us what we can do with our free time and it gives us guidance for our new responsibilities.”
The six-day course is packed with briefs ranging from a personal finance class to a welcome form the command chief.
“Today we are learned how to read our leave and earning statement and other financial aspects, like how to plan a retirement,” Peterson said. “Because of this I am now thinking about my future and planning what I’m going to do with my Air Force career.”
FTAC also provides Airmen the opportunity meet people outside of their work centers and network.
“I met one of my closest friends in FTAC,” Peterson said. “I work at 2nd MUNS and Airman 1st Class Michael Hall works at the air traffic control tower. Our jobs don’t directly interact so who knows if we ever would’ve met.”
Barksdale’s first term Airmen course has recently been revamped. The update now allows for three physical training sessions. The Airmen go to the Iron Airman Gym, have a sports day and complete a recorded mock fitness assessment.
“With the mock test, we are able to see where the Airmen are,” said Staff Sgt. Clayton Riegle, FTAC leader. “We used to have new Airmen straight from tech school failing their fitness assessment. Now with a mock test, we can get them the help they need to get back on track. We’ve gone from a 35 percent fail rate in new Airmen down to 14 percent.”
The revamp also includes an extra day for Airmen to learn more about the installation.
“We added an extra day to allow for a base tour, so Airmen can learn all that Barksdale has to offer,” Riegle said. “It also allows for the chaplains to bring food in and to talk to the Airmen.”
The additional time also allows for required training.
“We are now able to offer regulated requirements such as Green Dot and Equal Opportunity training,” Riegle said. “This ensures Airmen are ready to go when they get to their work stations and aren’t behind on any regulated training.”
With the completion of their FTAC chapter, Airmen are knowledgeable on opportunities for personal and professional growth, they are better prepared to have a successful Air Force story.