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Schriever FTAC's longest day is their best

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Airman 1st Class Shane Griffiths, 50th Contracting Squadron, hefts a spreader during a tour of the Schriever Fire Department. The spreader, commonly known as the "jaws of life," is designed to force vehicles open with up to 30,000 pounds of force per square inch. Airman 1st Class Roger Halle, who is in Airman Griffiths' FTAC class, provided the tour. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Airman 1st Class Shane Griffiths, 50th Contracting Squadron, hefts a spreader during a tour of the Schriever Fire Department. The spreader, commonly known as the "jaws of life," is designed to force vehicles open with up to 30,000 pounds of force per square inch. Airman 1st Class Roger Halle, who is in Airman Griffiths' FTAC class, provided the tour. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Airman 1st Class Lindsay Judkins checks a driver's ID card and vehicle pass at the Enoch Road gate here Monday. Airmen in the First Term Airmen's Center perform gate guard augmentee duties as part of their tour of the base. Airman Judkins is assigned to the 50th Security Forces Squadron here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Airman 1st Class Lindsay Judkins checks a driver's ID card and vehicle pass at the Enoch Road gate here Monday. Airmen in the First Term Airmen's Center perform gate guard augmentee duties as part of their tour of the base. Airman Judkins is assigned to the 50th Security Forces Squadron here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Master Sgt. Daniel Blanton escorts the class of 11 FTAC Airmen through the inflatable radome at the Colorado Tracking Station here. CTS, also known by its callsign PIKE, is one of eight Air Force Satellite Control Network tracking stations worldwide operated by the 22nd Space Operations Squadron here. Sergeant Blanton is assigned to 22nd SOPS. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Master Sgt. Daniel Blanton escorts the class of 11 FTAC Airmen through the inflatable radome at the Colorado Tracking Station here. CTS, also known by its callsign PIKE, is one of eight Air Force Satellite Control Network tracking stations worldwide operated by the 22nd Space Operations Squadron here. Sergeant Blanton is assigned to 22nd SOPS. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Don Branum)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Eleven Airmen from the First Term Airmen's Center filed into the base armory while another dozen Airmen from the 50th Security Forces Squadron's Alpha Flight stood in formation for guardmount. 

It was 4:30 a.m. Oct. 2, and the final day of FTAC had begun. 

Tech. Sgt. Rayshon Meeks, 50th SFS Alpha Flight chief, took attendance and assigned flight members to their positions. Airman 1st Class Christopher Mogon stepped forward to brief the flight on the use of force model, detailing the proper forceful response to a given measure of violence. 

"Alright, Alpha Flight, let's go to work," Sergeant Meeks said at the end of the briefing. "Flight, tench-HUT! Post!" 

The Airmen did about-face movements and headed to their lockers. One member of Alpha Flight, Airman 1st Class Kimisha Thomas, stayed behind to guide the FTAC group to the next portion of the tour. As she did, she talked to the group--which consisted mostly of new Schriever Defenders--about her experiences in Southwest Asia. 

"It was 140 degrees for the most part," she said. "It was my first time working on a flightline, which was a little different because I'd never guarded a flightline before." 

The Airmen navigated Schriever's underground tunnels into the Joint National Integration Center's basement. They emerged from the JNIC and circled back around to the Satellite Dish for breakfast. 

Later in the morning, they visited the Colorado Tracking Station, one of the 22nd Space Operations Squadron's eight Air Force Satellite Control Network sites worldwide. Master Sgt. Daniel Blanton guided the group through each of the tracking station's radomes. 

Afterward, it was off to the Schriever Fire Department, then to lunch. After lunch, the Airmen toured through the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th SOPS. The tour ended at about 2 p.m., and Airmen headed back to the DeKok Building for the final phase of their class. 

In the Columbia Education Center, a crowd of more than 30 supervisors, first sergeants, senior NCOs and commanders filled the back half of the room. Tech. Sgt. Leah Wilson, the Schriever FTAC instructor, introduced Chief Master Sgt. Michelle Lippert of the 50th Mission Support Squadron. 

"You're joining a wonderful organization," Chief Lippert said. "Schriever Air Force Base is the best. 

"You'll have to remember the right way to do things," she continued. "You're going to be making your own decisions on your uniforms, your (Career Development Courses)--make the right decisions, as I know you will." 

Next, the chief addressed the supervisors who were about to take charge of their FTAC graduates. 

"Supervisors, these are the future of our Air Force," she said. "When we retire or separate--because we can't stay in the Air Force forever--these are the people who will be your Air Force. Make sure you train them correctly, and make sure you treat them right." 

The short graduation ceremony broke up, and supervisors and Airmen left together. Chief Lippert remained a few more moments to talk with Sergeant Longacre and Sergeant Wilson. 

"We had a good turnout today," Chief Lippert said. 

"We always do," Sergeant Wilson said. "I feel good about this class ... they're a good group."

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