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Airmen train for war through FTAC

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- FTAC...all first-term Airmen do it, but not all supervisors and commanders understand it.
When an Air Force organization gains new Airmen, many have to leave for two-weeks for mandatory training at the First-Term Airmen's Center, or FTAC. FTAC is mandatory for all in-processing first-term Airmen. FTAC helps Airmen complete much of the in-processing paperwork. The goal is that when they go back to their unit, they're ready to work. 

"All they [supervisors] really know is that they lose their people for two weeks," said Tech. Sgt. Jerry Laney, an instructor at the FTAC. "So I want to let them know that we take care of a lot of the in-processing stuff so when they go back to their units, they're ready to begin at their job." 

The First-Term Airmen's Center at the McDaniel Center on Kadena trains Airmen not only in dress and appearance, but also in augmentee security training. The Airmen go through rigorous physical training as well including "flak-vest soccer" that takes a little getting used to. 

"It's difficult," said Airman 1st Class Adam Hudson breathing heavily, but smiling, "but you get used to it. It's fun." Then Airman Hudson lined up for push ups and an "Indian run" around the track with his flak vest still on. The expeditionary attitude of the FTAC program sets Airmen up for a deployment-driven Air Force. 

"It gets us ready for being in the desert," said Airman Hudson. 

"It sets their mind-set," said Sergeant Laney. "When they finish basic training and technical school, they get a bit of what the Air Force is all about. Then when they're sent to their units, they may lose some of that training. But if we can capture them and continue that path, we won't break any continuity and keep instilling into them what the Air Force is about, why they enlisted and where they're going." 

Airman 1st Class Heather Hunter said she knows the importance of learning security forces augmentee skills, like identifying intruders, will come in handy in her job on the flight line and downrange as well. 

"Since deployment is really high for Iraq, it's going to be extremely beneficial for us," stated A1C Hunter. 

Ready for work, ready for war and possibly ready to just get back to their unit after this training...but when they do return to their units, they'll be a valuable Air Force asset...ready for anything.