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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 that will testify with memories of saltier meals.

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?

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Commentary: Today’s differences from Cold War service on 30th milestone

This week, the dwindling veterans still serving in the military who experienced the Cold War first-hand may recall their true tales in winning it 30 years ago.

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Commentary: Permission and space to do nothing

For the would-be meditator, find your space to breathe and do nothing. It’s good for you as well as for the mission.

When the leaves on the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center colored the campus recently in their brilliant rust and gold fall blanket, I could not help but look outside to feel their glow spread out from our foothills view of the Great Smoky Mountains.

I decided to leave my desk and step out for a moment, taking my camera along, with no particular route around the base of what I would see.

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Chief Carbon, the Air Guard’s 3rd senior enlisted leader, lives on

By a chance social media post, I learned about the death of retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Bernard Carbon; it is a loss of one of the Air National Guard’s great enlisted leaders.

Chief Carbon’s biography and image are displayed on a wall here, at the Air National Guard’s training and education center in East Tennessee, which shows all 13 of the Air National Guard’s Command Chief Master Sergeants, since the position began in 1975.

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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.

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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.

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Commentary: Experiences step up our insight

One of the biggest things you hear around the U.S. Air Force these days is accelerating change, so you read stuff like leveraging inclusion, innovation, and diversity.

We’re talking about open-minded approaches that welcome the input of all service members.

But how do you get that insight? We may repeatedly be looking at issues and asking ourselves, “How can that person, just because they look different than me, possibly influence this mission?” Maybe it’s unanswered because we don’t take the time to appreciate personal experiences.

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Commentary: Managing the ‘JMHOs’

There are times when personal opinion is valuable, and there are moments when it’s inappropriate. This balance with subjectivity stresses the importance of transparency in our media.

If we live in a world where everyone reports something, professionals have a particular onus to source it. The cold, hard fact is that cold, hard facts and personal beliefs are equally viable when adequately identified.

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Commentary: The combat effective couch commando

“I forgot how to do homework. My back is killing me. I need to get off of this old couch.”

“Then you need to take care of that,” my wife recently told me over the phone from Missouri. “There’s no one there besides you to see it and point that out.”

“You’d think for a writer that I’d have telework down,” I replied. “I need to use a desk and a good chair. I’m too old to get by long with poor posture.”

Alright. In perspective, my aches and pains are small potatoes in this terrible pandemic. Hardship and suffering are rampant. And I was not battling the virus or at any significant risk, unlike our courageous health care workers and essential services workers. I was working from home, writing an article about how U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center are teleworking.

As it turns out, that and my hurt back all got me thinking about ergonomics.

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Commentary: Is respect changing?

Editor’s note: Commentary by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith. This is the sixth article in an ongoing series in which the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center staff and faculty share their perspectives and spark discussion about the organization’s lines of effort.

There are people in this world that I’ve never met that would stand unfulfilled in an extended handshake to me as well as there are strangers that I would risk my life protecting. In my face-to-face dealings with leaders, coworkers, people, and groups, gaining and giving my respect lies somewhere subjectively between those poles.

I believe that understanding respect is an introspective journey to how and why we value others, organizations, and ourselves. As they say in the office and on the battlefield, leaders cannot demand our respect; they must earn it through repeated actions that support our ideals.