Airmen FLEX on RAB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Olivia Sampson
  • 86th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs

The Facility and Leadership Excellence team, or FLEX, at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, is not just a typical base clean-up group. FLEX is a 2 week long mentorship and leadership program that helps beautify and set up for various events on base.

In February 2021 the program underwent significant changes from solely base beautification to be more geared towards mentoring new Airmen on a more personal level.

"In our two-week program, we blend mentorship, leadership and base beautification to forge Airmen who not only understand the Air Force's mission but also cultivate a profound pride in the base they'll call home,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Hector Martinez, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of the FLEX team. “It's more than just cleanliness. It's about hands-on, face-to-face leadership interactions with ranks E-5 to O-7, shaping resilient individuals for personal and professional excellence.”

While partaking in base beautification activities, selected Airmen in the FLEX program also spend considerable time attending classes covering mentoring sessions, on-base immersions, and leadership development.

“The program aims to invest in the development of Airmen, particularly those new to the Air Force. FLEX strives to prove ‘Good people make good Airmen,’” Martinez said. “Beyond five or six years, varied leadership experiences shape us. Unfortunately, bad leadership can discourage Airmen. Flex breaks this cycle, highlighting the impact of good individuals who evolve into great leaders, fostering an environment of growth and resilience. It's about building strong NCO-Airmen bonds, ensuring success in the Air Force."

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Quentin Cooper, 86th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance apprentice participated in FLEX during April 2023.

"Flex was a game-changer for me,” Cooper said. “Offering a rare opportunity to team up with folks outside my usual crew sharpened my networking skills, usually a challenge in the daily routine. As a fresh airman, it also helped me navigate semi-formal conversations with my higher-ups. This program, all about pushing limits and nurturing growth, pushed me out of my comfort zone, packing in new knowledge and lifelong friendships.”

Cooper’s main takeaway from FLEX was gaining a comprehensive understanding within the workplace. The program enables him to see beyond his specific role, fostering connections with individuals he might not have otherwise encountered.

Martinez draws inspiration from witnessing Airmen thrive in the two-week class and hopes to expand the program to other bases. He underscores the importance of investing in new Airmen to enhance and innovate the overall force, and encourages commanders to submit their new Airmen into the program.