Eartheditor

News and commentary by a National Guardsman

Airmen join the cause for women veterans — October 4, 2019

Airmen join the cause for women veterans

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the Air National Guard’s primary learning center in East Tennessee played a role in holding the Freddie J. Owens Women Veterans Summit, October 3, in Maryville, Tennessee.

“As a fellow woman veteran, I want to support and give back to the other women veterans,” Tech. Sgt. Renee Wiederspahn, a professional military education instructor at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, said.

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The value of inclusion — September 24, 2019

The value of inclusion

Editor’s note: This is the second article in an ongoing series in which the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center staff and faculty share their perspectives and spark discussion about its lines of effort.

I gained a renewed value for a culture of acceptance this summer by joining my unit’s softball team in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Not having played much baseball in my life, I decided to play with the Air National Guard I.G. Brown Training and Education Center’s “Notorious TEC” when the captain, Sergeant Smyser, told me it was just for fun and that the team was not overly serious.

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Guard Civil Support Team brings unique capability to exercise — September 17, 2019

Guard Civil Support Team brings unique capability to exercise

This 2008 assignment in Washington state allowed the videographer and me a moment/chance to hike on Mt. Saint Helens during the off hours. I was amazed at the size of some boulders, thrown miles by the eruption. We also set up a DVIDS satellite uplink in the field during the exercise. It was also one of those times when the event coordinators/officers tried to steal us into their personal use, and not understanding that we were independent reporters, not players in their training. Sometimes it took a phone call back to Arlington to straighten those things out. This was one of those moments.

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By Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith | National Guard Bureau

FORT LEWIS, Wash. – In a training exercise that involved a suspected improvised explosive device releasing an unknown poisonous gas, the Washington National Guard’s 10th Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team (CST) responded to the mock danger area May 2.

Their actions were part of a larger, national exercise hosted by the Department of Homeland Security called “National Level Exercise 2008” (NLE-08).

The multi-state venue joined federal, state and local responders May 1-8 in east and west coast training scenarios, which tested their ability to react to domestic emergencies.

Guardmembers here trained at the 52-building urban training center called “Leschi Town” on Fort Lewis. The comparative ghost town is an active-duty Army property on the southern end of the base’s 86,000 acres. Normally, it prepares combat Soldiers for military operations in urban terrain. Here, responders used it in NLE-08 to…

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AF’s last serving reciprocating engine flight engineer retires — September 3, 2019

AF’s last serving reciprocating engine flight engineer retires

Here’s a 2011 feature I wrote on the Air Force’s last piston-engine flight engineer in the DoD retiring. I thought for sure back then that the larger, total Air Force would have taken great interest in Chief Reinhart’s retirement and story, and highlighted his career, but the article was not picked up to more extensive circulation; this kind of baffled me many times in my career – what I believed was a nationally essential or unique Airman’s or Soldier’s story to tell was overlooked for no apparent reason. Me, I just could not ignore the end of an era in aviation.

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The Air Force’s last serving reciprocating engine flight engineer took his final flight here today at the air base he enlisted at more than 41 years ago.

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Reinert retired from military service at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base Sept. 6 amongst the aviators he served and near the aircraft that he helped fly.

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Education center considers future with new mission, vision — August 23, 2019

Education center considers future with new mission, vision

By Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
I.G. Brown Training and Education Center

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. — Less than a month after taking charge of the U.S. Air National Guard’s primary learning center here, its Commander, Col. Kenneth Lozano, challenged faculty and staff to retailor their mission and vision statements.

“We want to take TEC to new heights, and developing a shared mission and vision is an important step in that,” Colonel Lozano said. Continue reading

Vigilant Guard managers put the KaBOOM in terrorism exercises — July 18, 2019

Vigilant Guard managers put the KaBOOM in terrorism exercises

Here’s another flashback article, in Guam in 2008, at a national disaster exercise. What I remember was that it was not on my list of news coverage, but I could not pass up these guys filling balloons with explosive gas. They were happy to tell me what they were up to but did tell me I had to stay back quite away with my camera and flash (afraid it would trigger something). I was happy to comply, and a bit nervous myself. That’s where I came up with the clever “KaBoom!” lead. I also had to hold off on publishing, until the after the event took place, so it did not spoil the surprise for the first responders.

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GUAM – KaBOOM!

Exercise managers for the Vigilant Guard homeland security exercise added realism, Sept. 16, 2008, by blowing up balloons filled with explosive gas.

KaPOW!

They tested the balloons today. Tomorrow the noisemakers will prompt police swat teams to move in on a suspected fake terrorist hideout at a hotel. Along with phony blown up cars, it’s all been fabricated by the National Guard’s civilian exercise managers.

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Instruction on instruction is their function in demanding Air Guard course — July 12, 2019

Instruction on instruction is their function in demanding Air Guard course

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rachel Lewis led off a two-hour lesson July 9 on methods of instruction during the Instructor Certification Program at the Air National Guard’s primary education center located on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee.

“Our students put in a lot of hard work,” Sergeant Lewis said. “I love seeing the progression of those with or without training experience who learn that instructing is a whole different thing.”

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Why we should sing a loud service song — July 10, 2019

Why we should sing a loud service song

The playing of The U.S. Air Force song is one of the few moments we have to sing out with gusto for the service. In basic training, we sang loud in cadence, not only to keep in step but with a feeling of teamwork that the Airman next to us bellowed out “Mama, Mama, Can’t You See” or “Everywhere We Go.” A squeaky or off-key voice was of little attention. The mindset was to build confidence, so the louder we sounded off in rhythm, the better the formation looked.

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Campus billeting office construction shows progress — June 24, 2019

Campus billeting office construction shows progress

Construction of the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center’s new billeting office continued this week, with visible progress seen in some vertical steel structure raised, some initial concrete block laid, and from other work at the building site located on the eastern edge of the campus on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base near Knoxville, Tennessee.

Base Civil Engineer Squadron officials said last fall that an adequately designed billeting office under Air Force standards is required to provide customer service to all personnel attending enlisted professional military education in-residence training programs, professional continuing education, and base unit training assemblies.

Construction cost is about $1.39 million.

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Leadership students see the finish line — June 21, 2019