KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Incoming first-term Airmen are required to attend the First Term Airmen Course (FTAC) upon arrival at their first duty station.
During the course, Airmen learn about Air Force culture, the history of their duty location, as well as protecting and supporting air, space and cyberspace missions.
At Kadena, FTAC staff members believe that accomplishing the Team Kadena mission is more than just turning wrenches, defending the gates, or fixing an Airman’s paycheck. In their eyes it’s about being a professional in everything one does and being the best professional a person can be.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, hosting classes, lunch-and-learns, and professional development seminars requires a new norm for both FTAC and professional development briefers alike. The McDaniel Center staff responded to this new challenge by holding smaller and more frequent classes in addition to virtual briefings for incoming Airmen ensuring they receive the required training and are able to move on to their squadrons in a timely manner.
“It’s important to take time to develop yourself and develop others,” said Staff Sgt. John Dixon III, 718th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of the Kadena’s McDaniel Enlisted Professional Development Center. “We do this via virtual lessons and provide our students with course materials even though the instructors cannot [always] physically be in the classroom. Virtual lessons allow us to teach and deliver professional development to Team Kadena all from the comfort and safety of home.”
Although Dixon feels nothing can replace the importance and value of face-to-face conversation from attending a class in person, the FTAC briefers plan to keep virtual classes and capabilities available as long as necessary to best suite and educate the Airmen of Team Kadena.
“FTAC is a requirement and finding innovative ways lessons can take place allows all topics to be covered,” Staff Sgt. Madison Potter, 718th Force Support Squadron FTAC team lead explained. “History of the 18th Wing is a requirement for these students and also a favorite. It’s good to be aware of what you represent at Kadena and understand why the 18th Wing is here.”