Airman takes on leadership role, leaves lasting impression

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Magen M. Reeves
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
In the United States Air Force, one of the most crucial roles in developing Airmen for a successful career is NCO in charge of the First Term Airman Center.

For one Airman, goals of leadership have always been on his mind.

"At first I applied to be an instructor of Airman Leadership School," said Staff Sgt. Guerddy Espinoza. "I had all the qualifications except not enough time on station. So when the rotation for NCOIC of FTAC came down to the 819th RED HORSE Squadron, I volunteered."

After two deployments, four TDYs, achieving the rank of an NCO and almost seven and a half years dedicated to serving his country, Espinoza took on the mission.

"The FTAC NCOIC has a very important mission," said Senior Master Sgt. Cameron Smith, the Career Assistance Advisor with the 341st Force Support Squadron for the wing. "Their role is to in process our Airmen and to get them through the FTAC course. They take care of course scheduling and being a mentor and leader during the Airmen's first week."

The NCOIC of FTAC manages the Airmen in the course and accepts responsibility for their accountability. The NCOIC also coordinates with the base staff agencies to schedule briefings mandated in the AFI for FTAC operations, to include a wing safety orientation and a mission orientation briefing, usually given by the base commander or vice commander.

Espinoza is assigned to the operations section of the 819th RHS. Espinoza works vertical structures which includes the specialties of carpentry, masonry and welding.

"Due to the unique capabilities of the 819th RHS, Espinoza has had deployed work and civil engineer (operations) experience, he can bring across to our future Airmen," said Smith. "I am very thankful to 819th RHS for providing Espinoza for the 120 day rotation."

Espinoza has been filling the role since April 2015. The NCOIC of FTAC is on a tasking rotation of 120 days from group to group. His last class ended July 17 and he has been training the new NCOIC for the next rotation before returning to his squadron.

"With Staff Sgt. Espinoza, you only have to tell him once and it'll get done," said Smith. "He is an awesome guy and he will be missed for sure."

In his off-duty life, Espinoza is married and has an Australian shepherd, Blake. Espinoza and Blake wake up early and go for a run every morning before the duty day begins.

Espinoza strives to uphold the Air Force core values and has his FTAC graduating classes stand together at attention to recite the Airman's Creed before going back to their units to defend, deter, and assure.

"I don't feel my story is anything special," said Espinoza. "I love my job, I love wearing the uniform and I try my best daily to help create a better Air Force."