Staff Sgt. Mary Cannon brings knowledge and fun to FTEC

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Victoria Moehlman
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

After being an instructor of the 325th Force Support Squadron’s First Term Enlisted Class for just over a year, Staff Sgt. Mary Cannon has successfully introduced about 250 first-term Airmen to Tyndall.

FTEC is a weeklong program in which new Airmen receive instruction on the significance of resilience for achieving mission success while learning skills to effectively manage obstacles in their professional and personal lives. Cannon educates and customizes the course material to her unique style for the incoming Airmen.

“Cannon has made a lot of positive changes to the FTEC program by helping create the Air Force Steps to Success, which helps highlight the career progression for enlisted members to be successful further down their careers,” said Master Sgt. Cory Bressler, 325th FSS development advisor. “Some other things she has brought to the program is a breakfast that we do on the last day of FTEC and the scavenger hunt which encourages Airmen to go out and find all the agencies they need to or should know.”

Upon arriving at Tyndall, junior enlisted members are in the midst of adjusting from a training mindset to becoming fully integrated into the operational Air Force. Cannon helps reinforce lessons acquired in basic military training and technical training school while also aiding Airmen with a smooth transition.

“Watching and listening to Airmen’s answers and reactions to everything is personal to me,” said Cannon. “I knew I wanted to be a technical training school instructor, but I didn’t want to do it without any sort of experience. When an FTEC instructor position opened, I decided to go for it, and I loved it more than I thought I would. I hope that Airmen take away a sense of motivation and belonging when finishing FTEC.”  

Cannon explained for individuals thinking about a career as an instructor, becoming an FTEC instructor can serve as a bridge into an educational role with leadership responsibilities, offering valuable preparation for teaching positions elsewhere. 

“She keeps it fun, light and makes it more exciting,” said Bressler. “[She ensures] Airmen are engaged while providing them the important information they need to make sure they can take care of themselves and the mission.”

Cannon currently has orders to Sheppard AFB, Texas, where she will have the opportunity to fulfill her aspiration of becoming a technical school instructor in her career field of aircraft metals technology.

“FTEC is the best position I have ever filled and a great steppingstone in my career,” said Cannon. “I love it and everyone here in this office has made it that way. I am going to miss it. I am so excited for this next chapter, and I’ll take the experiences and lessons I learned here with me to Sheppard.”