MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
The 35th Force Support Squadron Professional Development Section hosted their test run of the First Term Officers Course (FTOC) at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 19.
Held in the same place as the First Term Airmen Course, FTOC also shares a similar goal of setting up Company Grade Officers (CGO) arriving at their first duty station on a path to success as they transition from a training environment to a more flexible mission-oriented one.
Like all personnel, new officers are required to meet training standards to support the execution of their assigned duties; however, being new to military life offers unique challenges and information gaps that aren’t always accounted for in training. The goal of FTOC is to bridge that gap. It gives first term officers the resources they might need in the future to solve issues that might not be related to their career field allowing them to be more equipped to handle situations that arise.
“We never have a formal class. People just say, ‘Oh, go on myPers and find it.’ What's ‘myPers,’ you know?” asked Capt. Lea Hyman, a 35th Surgical Operations Squadron, nurse anesthetist. “The biggest thing was learning about all the resources and services offered here. In addition to that, we actually navigated through all the different websites, like myPers, and where to find my paycheck, simple things that I didn't know before.”
Master Sgt. Amir Mustafa, the 35th Force Support Squadron, career assistance advisor, developed this course after he saw a need for one central class that covered all the basics for first-term officers.
“The course was built based on feedback,” said Mustafa. “We have the Wild Weasel University, and different courses that we offer, but pulling everything together into one course for the company grade officers to attend makes it easier.”
Over three days, the course has various senior noncommissioned officers teach seminars to the officers, including “How to Spend Air Force Money,” “An Introduction to the CGO Council,” and “Effective Air Force Communication and Bullet Writing.”
“Other than the baseline requirements that we offer here, we also introduce mentors to them,” said Mustafa. “I was very deliberate in picking the senior NCOs who were attending the course and a part of the panel because I wanted to make sure that the company grade officers are able to reach out to them.”
Mustafa hopes to have FTOC twice a year or once a quarter. This course is due to return if the officers who volunteered for it give good feedback and show improvement.
“Have all your questions ready,” advised Hyman to all future officers taking the course. “It’s helpful. A lot of us had the same issues. We then shared information and that just increases the network between us. It’s comforting having all first timers because we're all kind of in the same boat.”