CAAs help build better Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman Larissa Greatwood
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Whether an Airman wants the opportunity to retrain, become an effective supervisor or receive guidance through the Informed Decision seminar, the career assistance advisors at Ramstein offer many forums.

The CAAs work with each tier of the enlisted force from junior enlisted airmen through the first-term airmen center, to the NCOs and Senior NCOs who are deciding whether to stay in the Air Force or transition into civilian life.

Master Sgt. Etienne Tousignant, 86th Force Support Squadron CAA says he enjoys what he does, the impact made as a CAA and the opportunity to get out of his unit and see the bigger picture.

"If I hadn't joined the Air Force, I probably wouldn't be here today," he said. "Airmen are a big part of who I am. I love being an Airman, but I also want to help Airmen. Being a career assistance advisor and talking to over 3,000 folks in the past two years, I feel the impact. When I'm back in my original career, I'm primarily affecting my squadron. Right now, I'm affecting people all over base through leadership seminars and other things we offer; that's what I'll miss most."

When it comes to retraining questions, Tousignant says some Airmen he interacts with tell him rumors they've heard, thinking they are ineligible to retrain. The best way to get the correct information is to talk to a CAA.

"If someone wants to retrain, they need to come to our briefing," Tousignant said. "Sometimes people don't want to go to a briefing, but the information is critical. The vast majority of the people who miss their opportunity to retrain miss it because they were misinformed, not because someone intentionally misinformed them. There are many times people learn about something then share it with others, but the retraining program is constantly changing.

"If you want to retrain, talk to your career assistance advisor before it's too late," he added. "Some people are told they can't retrain because their career field is low-manned, and that's not always true. If you don't ask or try, you won't know. Airmen shouldn't wait because they could miss their retraining window. The best time to retrain is as a first-term Airman."

The CAAs work closely with the Air Force Personnel Center, the military personnel flight and base leaders to pass on the most accurate information. Their goal is to eliminate the misconceptions and educate Airmen.

In an effort to spread the correct information, the CAAs would like the opportunity to speak with as many Airmen as possible.

"Our [Air Force Instruction] mandates we get out and see every unit. However, there are 265 units here," said Tousignant. "We need people to invite us to their organizations; the larger the forum, the better because people don't know what they don't know. We're a product of the people who molded and created us, and we only know what they know. So we ask that organizations invite us out to their commander's calls, enlisted calls or any type of event."

Retraining briefings are offered twice a week. For more information, contact the CAAs at 480-9473 or commercially at 06371-47-9473.