How are buildings named? A brick on our past contributors, heroes, founders

How do you get a building named after you in the military?

Lankford. Morrisey. Wilson.

You can read these and other names affixed to the outside brick of the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center buildings in East Tennessee, which shelter and support thousands of service members every year.

With the recent announcement of the new facility to be named Craig R. McKinley Hall, it is okay to wonder who are these people, and how did they get a building named for them?

The Air Force Memorialization Program has a detailed naming process for installations, buildings, rooms, facilities, streets, and other property. This criterion ensures these honors stand the test of time and get vetted properly.


Building nominations can take months for processing and approval before names are affixed and a dedication ceremony takes place.

Officials identify a name-worthy building. A call for nominees is then typically sent out to those tied to the organization. When a recommendation comes, authorities gather their reasoning for the nominee as well as their biography, background, and records of service. They send this package through official channels.

Building names of nominees who are living require approval by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. A Major Command or a Wing may approve the building names of those who are dead, depending on the building’s size.

Once a building’s name is approved, it gets displayed near the entrance. Most buildings have the surname only, but they use the honoree’s full name when it could be confused with others.

A dedication ceremony is scheduled to include the honoree or their next-of-kin, current and former staff, leadership, friends, and the community.


TEC does not have all buildings named after people. Patriot Hall and Wingman Hall are inspiring concepts. More than half of the buildings honor Airmen who served on the campus. The remaining buildings honor Airmen of influence.

Alexander Hall
A dormitory building named after Chief Master Sgt. Lynn Alexander. Chief Alexander is a campus NCO academy graduate who became the second Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Director of the Air National Guard.

Lankford Hall
TEC demolished the old Lankford Hall, the first building named to Chief Master Sgt. Paul H. Lankford, and then dedicated the current student dormitory building to him. Chief Lankford served as the Deputy Commandant, and then the Commandant, of the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center, which was renamed shortly after his death in 2008. Chief Lankford survived the infamous Death March of Bataan and 42 months as a prisoner of war. Countless people have testified to his friendship, kindness, leadership, and patriotism.

Craig R. McKinley Hall (scheduled)
A new facility with a classroom building and two dormitory buildings scheduled for a July 27, 2017, naming ceremony to Gen. Craig R. McKinley. General McKinley is the 26th Chief of the National Guard Bureau, its first four-star general and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General McKinley is an Order of the Sword awardee – the highest Air Force honor given by the enlisted force.

Moon Hall
A dormitory building named after Chief Master Sgt. Richard Moon. Chief Moon is a campus NCO academy graduate and the EPME center’s fourth Commandant. He became the fifth Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Director of the Air National Guard.

Morrisey Hall
A classroom building named after Col. Edmund C. Morrisey. Colonel Morrisey is TEC’s first Commandant and Commander. He led the center for 15 years and visited the campus following his retirement, often to inspire Airmen, support special events and applaud graduations. Colonel Morrisey is considered a lifetime advocate for the Air National Guard and is its only Colonel awarded the Order of the Sword.

Spruance Hall
A multi-use building with a lecture hall and broadcast studios named after Brig. Gen. William Spruance. General Spruance gave safety lessons to NCO academy and the Academy of Military Science, as well as around the world. His advocacy followed a T-33 aircraft crash that left him severely burned and disabled, but he continued to serve in the Delaware Air National Guard, retiring as its Assistant Adjutant General for Air. He died in 2011.

Vitzthum Hall
A dormitory building named after Chief Master Sgt. George Vitzhum. Chief Vitzhum was part of the first leadership school and officer preparatory academy staff who then served as the second Commandant. He also instructed NCO academy. Chief Vitzhum helped develop much of the primary curriculum and contributed to the first college credits being awarded for EPME in the Air Force, among other accomplishments.

Wilson Hall
The current activities building with fitness equipment and a gymnasium – the place for EPME graduations and banquets – is named after Maj. Gen. Winston P. Wilson. General Wilson served as Chief of the National Guard Bureau and died in 1996. The demolished Wilson Hall base gymnasium, which the old staff converted into classrooms and a library, was named after a Lieutenant Wilson when the base was an active duty installation. Lieutenant Wilson died on a training flight.


I.G. Brown
Maj. Gen. I.G. Brown, TEC’s founder, is often given the statement: “before him, there was nothing.” General Brown was the first Director of the Air National Guard (the former title was Assistant Chief of the National Guard Bureau for Air). In 1967 he pushed for an NCO academy in the Air National Guard at an Air National Guard base managed by Air National Guard Airmen. TEC changed its name in 1998 to memorialize General Brown – 30 years after its inception.

There is more. TEC is an official U.S. Air Force Heritage Holding. It honors the names of others deemed inspiring or critical to its success at displays and memorials throughout campus.

By Eartheditor

Hello. I am a prior U.S. Navy sailor and photojournalist serving on active duty with the National Guard – combined, for more than 24 years. This blog features my more memorable stories and photos from that news pile as well as creative writing. All images and stories are by me unless otherwise credited. I hope to backlog more as well as write new stories. Thank you so much.
- Mike R. Smith

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