Service leader’s scrapbooks provide communication lessons

I recently took some time to read through hundreds of telegrams and letters placed in an extensive scrapbook collection by the Air National Guard’s first Director, now on file with the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee.

TEC is named after U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. I.G. Brown. He led the Air National Guard for nearly a dozen years – first as the National Guard Bureau’s Assistant Chief for Air in 1962.


Guard ‘T-bird’ pilot wheels enthusiasm at nation’s capital [repost]

A colleague of mine, a very talented photographer, asked me recently if I ever took portraits of the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds, and I did not think I had. But when he mentioned Colonel Routt with the Nevada Guard, I suddenly remembered this story one day, many years ago. Apparently, they were looking for stories and photos of the Colonel for when he takes command of the 177th Fighter Wing. I often wonder about the outcomes of the people I spotlighted, but their names and faces are a blur. This was just one man that I interviewed for an assignment and then never saw again. My congratulations to you, Colonel Routt.


ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md (AFNS) –As acrobatic aircraft buzzed overhead as part of the run-up to the air show here May 16, Lt. Col.Derek Routt paid more notice to the parked, baby-blue and white business jets on the ground; aircraft used by the nation’s elected and military leaders.

The first Air National Guard officer to serve on the Air Force Thunderbirds was enjoying his time in the nation’s capital May 14. It was his eighth event since joining the team.

A trim, operations officer in his late 30s, Routt wore the dark-blue flight suit of the Thunderbirds with nary a thread out of place. So there was “no distinguishing between a Guard, Reserve or active-duty Thunderbird,” he said.

“This is a true-to-form, Total Force team,” he said. “When I tell people that I am a guardsman it brings a lot of questions, and that allows me to talk…

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Commentary: For usability’s sake

My blood pressure is high.

I know it is because I’ve been monitoring it for some time.

But this is not a health editorial for those who pull their sleeve up daily for a pressure cuff — with memories of saltier meals — will testify.

We march through many stressful changes in the services. Some of us are managers and designers in the comprehensive technology that encircled us. And we know the universal question of what systems win battles and what makes us boil. Is it usable?


Photo coverage: Cyber Protect and Defend Course graduation

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Chad Raduege, the director of Cyberspace and Information Dominance, and chief information officer for Headquarters Air Combat Command, spoke as guest speaker for graduates of the Cyber Protect and Defend Course, February 17, during a ceremony at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center in East Tennessee.

After six weeks of learning, the Airmen and Space Force Guardians were the first official graduating class on the campus and part of the Mission Defense Team training.

TEC is the Air National Guard’s total force training and education provider.


TEC designs new challenge coin in leader development, future missions

The Air National Guard’s training and education center in East Tennessee is marketing its identity and strategy with a new challenge coin as it shifts mission, values, and image.

This month, the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center began using the coins as means of recognizing its contributors and performers. It is in addition to the commander’s coin awarded in those merits.

Short stories

The bag smashers

The bag smashers
a poem

we met in a large oval
except for the outer belt
standby ticket travelers
plodding to the inside
with turbulent guts
i heard their deep retch
knowing a mess
may come
they asked bad stewards
ignored their connections
discounted claim checks
discounted gates onward
calling for old baggage
we wheeled novel luggage
and tied multicolored
bandana handles
for a United trip
picking up from a great jet
mending our new strains
then hard-buzzed warnings
of pushing flare chittering
some matching sets
‘merged through fringed boundaries
those shabby cases thunked
to work ‘round again
this terminal was home
left picking up
carrying it beyond


CMSAF joins 300+ Airmen in EPME virtual-training discussion

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass joined a teleconference with more than 300 Airmen enrolled virtually in NCO academy and Airman leadership school with instructors at the Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center in East Tennessee.


Commentary: The U.S. Air Force’s ABU dances off

U.S. Air Force Airmen will end the month of March this year, leaving behind a threadbare and faded slate-blue battle uniform with equally ragged conversations on its wear during the last decade: the ABU, or Airman Battle Uniform.

Only when leisure suit wearers were cool has an outfit been so disliked and oppositely loved.


Guard nerve centers prove key to inaugural, national missions [repost]

This 2009 feature I wrote on the Obama inauguration gave good insight on how the National Guard coordinates with Secret Service, DHS, FEMA, the police, and other organizations to ensure public safety and security at the Capitol, during the inauguration, and at other national events. There are a lot of smart and dedicated Guard members to it, and this one will not be much different.


When National Guard soldiers and airmen show up for the thousands of missions they perform, they know they’re part of the right unit, in the right place, at the right moment. But, getting them to a mission does not happen by chance.

That’s partly because the joint staff at the National Guard Bureau, along with the Army and Air Guard’s readiness centers work behind the scenes with the states and territories to put the Guard’s best foot forward.

The National Guard’s support to the current presidential inauguration is no different, but its footprint is nearly four times larger than any in previous inaugurations.

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Air National Guard training and education center reviews 2020

By U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
I.G. Brown Training and Education Center

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. — Taking a look back at a jarring 2020, the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center staff said that they faced extraordinary challenges with bold ideas, innovation, and teamwork amid isolation and unfamiliarity.

Like past national crises, the COVID-19 pandemic made a demarcation line, but with an impact like no other. The year was marked by before health protection conditions and after.

TEC is now into its 10th month of the deadly virus that suspended most in-resident classes in March and pushed staff and faculty to rethink every facet of meeting, teaching, and serving in uniform.