Posts 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 20 years. This blog features memorable reports from that news pile. I hope to backlog more stories as well as write more. Thank you. - Mike R. Smith

Education center staff, faculty innovate at Thinkshop workshop

Staff, faculty, and guests tossed a small cloth ball in a circle in a classroom at the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air Guard Base in East Tennessee, Oct. 10, 2018, as part of the day’s hands-on exercises in the U.S. Fleet Forces Illuminate Thinkshop.

TEC’s organizers said that they scheduled the workshop today and tomorrow as a way to encourage and promote innovation on campus and across the U.S. Air Force. About two dozen Airmen attended the classes.

The U.S. Fleet Forces said that it initially developed Illuminate Thinkshop for Sailors and Marines. Its “unconventional” approach helps organizations “break down institutionalized barriers and leverage the tacit knowledge of their people,” officials said.

Thinkshop officials called the training valuable toward ways to “foster a culture of critical thinking, creative problem solving, and collective ownership.” Innovation is among senior defense leaders’ top priorities.

EPME Center closes the fiscal year with graduations, accomplishments

Faculty and staff at the U.S. Air Force’s enlisted professional military education center in East Tennessee said that the graduations of three EPME classes last month closed out a fiscal year of significant accomplishments.

Classes NCO Academy 18-6, Airman Leadership School 18-10, and ALS Blended Learning Course 18-11, all graduated EPME on the last week of September. In total, the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford EPME Center graduated 1,894 students over the previous 12 months.
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Cyber operations Airman dresses in parody for smiles

An Airman assigned in cyber operations at the Air National Guard’s education center said that dressing up as a comic character parody for charitable events is a valuable and rewarding way to reach out to the community where he’s assigned.

“Cause-play [dressing in costume for a cause] has been my interest and brings so much joy to others,” Master Sgt. Robert A. Pickler said.

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Two Air Force instructors build intellects, physiques on same campus

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Two active duty Air Force enlisted professional military education instructors serving at the Air National Guard’s training and education center in East Tennessee are building future leaders as well as their bodies during their assignments.

Tech. Sgt. Ebonie S. Hills, an Airman Leadership School instructor, and Tech. Sgt. Isaac M. Dobson, an NCO Academy instructor, did not know each other before coming to the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford EPME Center; however, both compete in bodybuilding.

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The best, worst selfie

Whenever new students come to the Air National Guard’s training and education center in East Tennessee (very often), I hear faculty and leadership talking with them about dos and don’ts while on campus. They want to set expectations, they want newcomers to be successful, and they want them to get the most out of their experience. I have a role as a public affairs briefer, despite not teaching anything in the classroom. How will their stories unfold here? How will their actions in the community and with their cell phone cameras and social media while TDY become something more to me than a potential career-ending, wrong decision?

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App’tive audience

U.S. Air Force Capt. Liaquat Ali, deputy director of AF Connect, speaks to Airmen about the Air Force Connect mobile app during the service’s Public Affairs Agency Digital Publishing Workshop, Aug. 8, 2018, at the Air National Guard training and education center in East Tennessee. Captain Ali’s team at the Pentagon have been rolling out the innovation, which allows both public and restricted-access (MyPay, email, AF link) communications on personal mobile devices. Their idea to pair mobile CAC readers with Airmen’s cell phones and tablets were among the finalists in the recent USAF Spark Tank competition. It has been lauded and approved by top leaders, including the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright in a July Facebook post. The free app is available to download. Captain Ali said that units AF-wide are implementing and customizing the app now and in the coming months. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)