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Flight attendants at Scott part of Total Force Integration

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jason Snyder
  • 54th Airlift Squadron
"The Air Force has flight attendants? What for?"

That's the most common reaction I get when I tell people that I am a U. S. Air Force flight attendant, or FA, simply because it's not well known that the Air Force has a mission that requires flight attendants.

As professional enlisted aircrew members, we are responsible for the safe, comfortable and reliable transportation of our nation's leaders. We don't just serve pretzels and soda like our civilian counterparts; we are culinary experts expected to provide service equivalent to a 5-star restaurant regardless of the challenges that come with being at 35,000 feet of altitude and traveling at more than 500 miles per hour. An Air Force FA receives safety training from civilian airlines in addition to attending all the schools required to be an aircrew member in the Air Force.

To become a FA you must retrain into the 1A6X1 career field, which starts with an extensive, week-long interview process at Joint Base Andrews, Md. If you're accepted, it's off to training. You begin with a four-week long Basic Aircrew Fundamentals course followed by a five-week long Basic Flight Attendant Course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Next you must complete water and combat survival training at Fairchild AFB, Wash. Upon arrival at your duty station you attend a one-week training course at a Federal Aviation Administration certified training facility. After that, it takes about 18 months of on-the-job training before you are fully qualified. To ensure FAs stay proficient, they are evaluated every 12-17 months.

Here at Scott AFB we have the only Total Force Integrated unit of flight attendants. The 54th Airlift Squadron (Air Mobility Command) and 73rd Airlift Squadron (Air Force Reserve Command) are making a lasting impression with our customers in the distinguished visitor and very important person transport mission while flying on the C-40C aircraft. During my assignment at Scott, I have had the great opportunity to work side-by-side with the 73rd AS personnel on a daily basis. Whether it is scoring an "Excellent" on the first-ever Air Force TFI DV squadron operational readiness inspection or ensuring we are ready to execute any mission, our TFI relationship is the key to successfully meeting these challenges.

Although my primary job is flying missions as a flight attendant, I also work as the superintendent of group training. Part of this responsibility is to ensure that we are using our training resources as effectively as possible to meet our goals in preparing our new FAs to be the best aircrew members in the Air Force. With 98 percent of our customer surveys rated "Outstanding," I am confident in saying that we are meeting that challenge.

Thirteen years ago I trained into the flight attendant career field. Since then, I have traveled to more than 100 countries while supporting national objectives. Together with the 73rd AS, our TFI partnership ensures our nation's leaders are safely, comfortably and reliably transported around the world.