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Commentary: ‘Hang on’ through summer [Repost]

With the nice weather arriving here in Georgia, I thought about this commentary that I wrote nearly a decade ago. Sadly, my father and his friend Mel, whom I wrote about in several articles, have passed on from this world. But the many lessons they gave me in manhood remain. How so very lucky I was to have them in my life.

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A friend of my father whom I have known since I was a child, I’ll call him “M” here,gave me my first safety lesson when I was about 10 years old.

I was standing short and skinny, in 1978, above a Class III river section with a helmet, a life jacket, and a big, black truck tire inner-tube, and he said, jokingly, “Hang on, Kid.”

It was my first run-in with danger, so I took this best friend of my father’s words very seriously.

“If you fall off, remember, keep your feet up, don’t drag them on the rocks, or you could get them caught in a crevasse and be pulled under,” he said. “You will be fine.”

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These streamers are broadcasting Airmen’s great accomplishments

Teaching enlisted professional military education to the total U.S. Air Force is instructors’ work. Still, the ability to recognize and share Airmen’s accomplishments on Graduation Day is the work of a much larger team at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center.

That is why TEC’s public affairs broadcasters coordinated and rehearsed a recent virtual graduation ceremony from the television studios outside Knoxville in East Tennessee.

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Lodging building opens at Air Guard’s education center

The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center’s new lodging building opened on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee this month.

The 2,400 square foot building provides a large lobby area for customer service and room check-in/check-out for personnel attending enlisted professional military education in-residence training programs, professional continuing education, and base unit training assemblies.

TEC lodging includes 346 single and double occupancy rooms.

The brown brick building resides above the student parking lot on the eastern edge of the campus, out front and visible to arriving personnel. The location allows delivery drivers and others to park vehicles nearby without using pedestrian sidewalks, among many other improvements and additions. Its southeast entrance lets in ample morning sunlight and views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Officials said that they plan to convert the former billeting office at the Moon Hall dormitory building into increased dorm and support facilities, which will improve operational capacity.

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Airmen Crate medical equipment for Refugees [Repost]

With the 30th anniversary of the end of the cold war last week, I thought about this 2004 feature I wrote at the closed Plattsburgh Air Force Base. Winning the Cold War took uncountable sacrifices and missions from service members at those since shuttered bases and scrapped Navy ships, which now remain in veterans’ memories. BTW, please tell your representatives that they deserve an official Cold War federal service medal, not a print-from-home certificate.

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By Staff Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Guard Times Staff

PLATTSBURGH AIR FORCE BASE, N.Y. — With a hospital full of dusty medical equipment, thousands of refugees needing medical treatment, and the Gulf of Mexico in between, a small mission upstate recently called upon Airmen to aid in a miracle.

“I feel blessed to have met this group,” Sister Deb said. She looks across the broken down remains of what was once an emergency room as sharp clanking and banging sounds echo through an open doorway on her right. Something large and heavy is being lifted.

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Air Guard education center’s 2021 year-in-review

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. — The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center navigated the year through reduced pandemic restrictions and returning in-resident classes, staff and leadership changes, VIP visits, and continual curriculum and campus renovations to finish 2021 with outstanding achievements.

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Instructor gathers her resiliency with goats, chickens

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. — With so many changes and demands Airmen face in their service these days, it can get challenging to disconnect and recharge to maintain resiliency. The U.S. Air Force wants healthy and ready minds, but it is also up to service members to find what best refuels them and give attention to it.

Tech. Sgt. Renee Wiederspahn, a professional military education instructor at the Lankford Enlisted PME Center in East Tennessee, decided to get some goats and chickens during the pandemic.

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Air Guard education center now offers Airmen CEU credits for some classes

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. — Students enrolled in the Air National Guard training and education center’s Instructor Certification Program can now earn Continuing Education Units, a measure used to maintain licenses or certifications with civilian employers.

The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center’s TEC University in East Tennessee said that ICP graduates would receive 7.6 CEUs through a partnership with Pellissippi State Community College.

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Airmen return to classrooms for Leadership School

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. — U.S. Air Force Airmen returned for in-residence classes with the Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center in East Tennessee this week after more than a year’s in-person absence at the Air National Guard’s primary training and education campus.

More than 80 Senior Airmen enrolled in Airman Leadership School began 24 academic days of study with morning briefings and indoctrination on June 7. They were the first EPME class since pandemic health precautions suspended in-resident learning in early 2020.

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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.

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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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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.