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First hand experience for first term Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Vanessa Young
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Just as the Air Force implemented warrior week and issued training weapons to basic trainees, RAF Lakenheath's First Term Airmen Center revised their Readiness Week curriculum to ensure first-term Airmen accomplish deployment training in an operational environment. 

Readiness Week now incorporates pallet build up, a one-stop shop to pick up chemical gear, gas mask fit test and chemical warfare training.

"With the onset of changes in basic military training, SMART Ops 21 and LEAN process improvements, we began looking for ways to improve FTAC processes," said Tech. Sgt. Julie Sosa, First Term Airmen Center's NCO in charge.

FTAC first adjusted their Readiness Week curriculum in April with the addition of pallet building. Then, a few months after this schedule change, they were approached by the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron to incorporate mobility bag issue.

"The 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron centralized some of their mobility functions into their new facility and offered a 'one stop- shop' to our new Airmen," said Sergeant Sosa. "FTAC saw the opportunity to capitalize on this."

According to Sergeant Sosa, the synergy between the 48th Mission Support Squadron, the 48th LRS, the 48th Civil Engineer Squadron and the 48th Aerospace Medicine Squadron resulted in a more efficient process, better training and improved wing readiness.

The changes to Readiness Week enhance readiness on the unit and wing level, said Sergeant Sosa.

"It has cut down on commanders' support staff personnel having to make appointments for their first-term Airmen to pick up mobility bags," she said. "Adding this to FTAC has also decreased the amount of time personnel in the work center have to take time of their busy day to drive Airmen to pick up their mobility equipment. The biggest benefit is these changes help the Airmen understand part of their mission during the deployment process."

According to Airman 1st Class Rachel Shepard, who attended the first revised Readiness Week, it was quite helpful in future deployment orientation.

"The training that I found most interesting involved pallet breakdown and buildup," she said. "I believe this is a theme they recently incorporated into FTAC training to better familiarize newcomers with actual deployment duties, ensuring smoother transition into a first-time experience."

"We want them to understand their lives depend on this training, that this training is important," said Sergeant Sosa. "I don't care if you're a crew chief or a cop, when it comes time to deploy this wing, these skills are vital, and here at FTAC our job is to provide the wing with mission-ready Airmen."