Photo: Crystals refract the winter sunrise, Dec. 28, 2017, at the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee. The crystals are part of a 1978 dedication to Maj. Gen. I.G. Brown, 1st Director of the Air National Guard, credited with founding the campus, which celebrates 50 years of enlisted professional military education in 2018. Called the “crown jewel of the Air National Guard,” the crystals were quarried near General Brown’s hometown of Hot Springs, Arkansas. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)
LOUISVILLE, Tenn. — Taking a look back at 2017 the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center staff in East Tennessee said that they met challenges in professional military education and continuing education, welcomed new staff members including its Commander, Commandant, and Chaplain, and successfully hosted top military leaders.
The campus started off the year with contractors turning over the completed classroom and dormitory buildings after 28 months’ construction.
The new facility’s first classes in January opened a record flow of learners through the coming months, which included Air National Guard website managers and National Guard Bureau family program managers, among others. With the additional dorms available, the Vitzthum Hall dormitory began a year-long renovation.
Chief Master Sgt. Christine Shawhan took charge of Professional Continuing Education in February to oversee the hub for broadcasts, productions, and courses. Its office branches were renamed and reorganized to meet new and future missions.
The division produced several videos including the ANG 101 video and the ANG Outstanding Airmen of the Year videos, which were highlighted and lauded nationally. PCE also revamped an evaluation bullet writing course that became widely popular, so its Airmen took it on the road to base unit training assemblies. They then live broadcast the course to thousands more on the Warrior Network.
PCE engineers took to the road too, and they brought TEC TV’s onsite, mobile broadcast capability to the National Guard Senior Leadership Conference, the Enlisted Leadership Symposium, and the Diversity Conference.
In May, the Director of the Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, visited the campus as well as spoke to a gathering of about 90 sergeant majors, command sergeant majors, chief master sergeants, command chiefs and senior enlisted advisors from the states and territories. The Air National Guard’s Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Ron Anderson joined him.
Col. Kerry Lovely arrived in June to take command of TEC from Col. Kevin Donovan in a ceremony in Spruance Hall. Staff also said farewell to Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. David Meece in September and then announced Maj. John Capra as his successor from Wisconsin, arriving in early 2018.
Also among leadership changes: Chief Master Sgt. Winfield Hinkley Jr. arrived in July as the 15th commandant of the EPME Center. Chaplain, Lt. Col. Bradley T. Green arrived in August and set up his support from Wingman Hall. First Sergeant, Senior Master Sgt. Michael Krausz arrived in May after Senior Master Sgt. Marcy Broadway retired.
The most significant month for the TEC may have been in July, when top National Guard leadership, past, and present, paid tribute to retired Gen. Craig R. McKinley, the 26th Chief of the National Guard Bureau, with the new facility’s dedication in his name. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the 28th CNGB and a member of the Joint Chiefs, paid tribute to McKinley in a speech.
Amidst the larger events, TEC relocated the Drosendahl Memorial stone to the athletic field, which honors former Academy of Military Science students who died in service to the nation – it had stored the memorial when the parade field converted to parking.
Chief Hinkley arrived in time to speak at one of EPME’s most massive ALS graduation banquets; so far so that the August event for the 188 Airmen of Class 17-9 happened inside the 134th Air Refueling Wing’s KC-135 aircraft hangar. Later, faculty tallied 1,309 EPME graduates for the calendar year.
Airmen donned eclipse glasses August 21 to take advantage of TEC’s location under the Great American Eclipse. It was a sunny day. Students and staff gathered outdoors for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a minute-and-a-half of a total solar blackout.
Mother Nature became the focus again for some staff in September and October during the National Guard’s sizeable domestic response callouts to a gauntlet of hurricanes that slammed the continental United States, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Airmen from Production, Instructional Development, and Public Affairs supported recovery operations at crisis action centers and staging areas.
At the same time, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright visited TEC and spoke with NCO Academy and Airman leadership school graduates.
Chief Master Sgt. Ron Anderson then returned in November to broadcast a live town hall with Air National Guard Airmen on issues vital to them and their families in the states and territories.
In December, TEC TV made a highly anticipated announcement of live television broadcasting to NIPRNet workstations; a capability long sought by the field and worked toward by engineers and cyber-Airmen. Cyber-ops Airmen also managed Wi-Fi into TEC’s remaining buildings to make the campus entirely wired.
TEC’s staff gained high honors and recognition with five Air National Guard Readiness Center quarterly awardees for outstanding Airmen and civilians, not including the fourth quarter and the annual recognitions, yet to be announced.
In other awards, the Knoxville region announced that the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center was among its top blood donors with the Silver Supporter Award. The Civil Air Patrol also honored TEC for its service to the Cadet Aviation Ground School. Still, other TEC staff earned recognition as part of the Air National Guard team who ran 1st Place in 2016 Air Force Marathon MAJCOM competition.
With the New Year fast approaching, Colonel Lovely answered a few questions on the year’s happenings and what may come for TEC in 2018.
Q: Can you share what new thing(s) you learned about the TEC since your arrival this summer as commander?
LOVELY: That TEC has a very talented, passionate and motivated staff. This in turn creates an environment conducive to learning.
Q: What have been the significant accomplishments for TEC this year?
LOVELY: McKinley Hall and associated rooms have increased our capability and capacity to offer more classes to more people. We are making a better Air Force/Air National Guard one student/one class at a time.
Q: So how do your faculty and staff influence the quality and success of training and education taught here?
LOVELY: I think it two ways: first the faculty and staff are motivated and excited to work here; consequently, we set the environment for learning to occur. The second way is leading by example; using the Air Force Core Values to guide our decisions/actions.
Q: You traveled to the NCR and other locations in leadership meetings this year. What new things were provided and taken away for TEC?
LOVELY: How we deliver training and education in the future is frequently discussed. We need to utilize technology to the fullest extent to ensure we are reaching the maximum number of Airmen.
Q: What was the best news you received about TEC?
LOVELY: Personally, it was when I found out I was selected as the next Commander. It is a huge honor, and I’m truly humbled to have the opportunity to lead this great team.
Q: Can you share something interesting about the coming year for TEC that you want Airmen and others to know?
LOVELY: I’m excited some of our instructors are getting trained to offer PACE (Profession of Arms Center of Excellence) classes here and out to the field. PACE has set the bar high, our Air National Guard will only be better with this new offering.