Preparing First-term Airmen Virtually Published May 18, 2020 By Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Recce Town’s First Term Airmen Center (FTAC) team set up an innovative way of accomplishing their mission during COVID-19 by providing their course virtually to Airmen here. An FTAC class of 30 Airmen from Beale became the first in the Air Combat Command to graduate virtually on April 24, 2020. “During the pandemic we looked at how we could leverage distance learning against social distancing mandates,” said Master Sgt. Anthony Hawkins, 9th Force Support Squadron wing career assistance advisor. “We decided to model FTAC after a normal online university class. We began working on the course then received support from 18 bases worldwide who helped build content, or provided value added feedback.” FTAC is a structured first duty station professional development program that strengthens the Air Force culture. It focuses on providing Airmen the tools needed to make a smooth transition from a training environment to the operational Air Force. “We reinforce BMT (Basic Military Training) and tech school principles of Airmanship and warrior ethos,” Hawkins said. “The course also familiarizes Airmen with base resources and prepares them for their role in supporting the mission.” The classes and graduation were held virtually through video teleconferences to maximize social distancing during COVID-19. “We balanced teleconferences and recorded briefings from base agencies for discussion posts and quizzes,” Hawkins said. “We conducted virtual meet ups at the end of each day to reinforce learning objectives.” Whether held virtually or in person, FTAC continues to prepare Airmen as they take their first steps into the operational Air Force.