A4L program develops newest Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Ceaira Tinsley
  • 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The phrase “take care of your Airmen” takes on many forms in the Air Force but for the leaders at the 94th Fighter Generation Squadron this mantra kickstarted their Airmen For life Program.

The Airmen For Life Program is an initiative open to the 94th FGS’ First Term Airmen that emphasizes the overall well-being of Airmen by deliberately developing them both personally and professionally.

“Airmen For Life is a program that we developed for the Airmen to give them the opportunity to learn things that they can use inside and outside of the military to better themselves to become the best person they can possibly be,” said Senior Master Sgt. Daryl Crane, 94th Fighter Squadron superintendent and Airmen For Life Program project officer. “We’re giving them the tools now so that they can go ahead and start investing in their futures. The program greatly benefits them if they’re in the Air Force for 4 years or if they’re in for 30 years.”

Some of the learning opportunities held once a month include: financial briefings, education counseling, blended retirement system training and life counseling.

“We started off with first term airmen because they’re so new and we want to jumpstart their careers and also potentially help them figure out what they want to do outside of the Air Force,” Crane added. “We’re trying to give each Airmen the opportunity to find out what they can do to benefit themselves as a person and an Airman.”

Crane says, at the program’s core its designed to give Airmen access because he’s found that the obstacle most Airmen face isn’t a willingness to be the best it’s not knowing when and how to access the resources available to them.  

Each month a list of various subject matter experts are embedded within the unit to teach Airmen new skills and then they are allotted time to put those skills to use.

“The first half of the day, we bring in briefers to teach them new skills,” said Crane. “The second half of the day, we send them off to go utilize those skills. Whether that’s signing up for classes or starting an investment, the goal is for them to go and do something that will allow them to better themselves.”

While the focus of the program is centered around the Air Force’s No. 1 resource, Crane foresees the benefits will also equate to mission success.

“One of the biggest benefits is going to be that they’re going to start looking at the bigger picture much earlier,” said Crane. “They’ll begin critical thinking as Airmen and this will help them better support the Air Force’s mission and take us to further places then we’ve ever been.”

Despite being a new initiative, the first iterations of the program have received resounding positive feedback and created a unique bond between Airmen and leaders.

“I like it a lot because it gives us more options about how the real Air Force works,” said Airman 1st Class Laynie Jones, 94th FGS weapons technician and Airmen For Life program attendee. “I’m definitely more comfortable with going to them now then I was because now I know there’s nothing to be scared of because they want good things for and from us.”

According to Crane, the goal is to keep growing the program in scope and numbers because the possibilities are endless.

“My goal for the program is to expand it out to the wing because I’d like to bring in more people to maximize this opportunity,” said Crane. “We really want to branch it out to everybody, but this is our starting process and we’re building up to a bigger program.”