Old Glory raised, then lowered

If you visited the Air National Guard’s training center here in East Tennessee this week coming from any other U.S. active duty, National Guard or Reserve military installation, there would be one thing that you would notice the same – the American flag at half-staff.

The President and the governors can order the flag flown half-staff through the U.S. Flag Code in memorialization. This time, flags were raised to their peak, then lowered to halfway in honor of those victims of murder and assault in Las Vegas.

“Our Nation is heartbroken,” proclaimed President Donald Trump, in his notice for the American flag to fly half-staff, Oct. 2 to Oct. 6. Meaning, a week of reflection before the Columbus Day weekend. “As we grieve, we pray that God may provide comfort and relief to all those suffering.”

These past years, I’d instead not recall how often I’ve walked across the base in the morning to see “Old Glory” flying below its peak to honor Americans under tragic events. It’s too often.
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Air Guard remains top community advocate

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – It would not be out of the ordinary for someone in the East Tennessee Smoky Mountains region to know of a U.S. Air Force Airman.

That’s partly due to the community volunteerism generated here during last fiscal year through students at the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center.

“The student’s daily schedule is packed full of academic requirements, so their dedication to service truly shows in their support to the local community while balancing the rigors of coursework,” said Chief Master Sgt. Winfield Hinkley, the commandant.

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165th Airlift Wing keeps disaster relief moving

Air National Guard Airmen with the 165th Air Terminal Operations Center at Savannah Air National Guard Base prepare 38,000 pounds of meals-ready-to-eat, Sept. 26, 2017, to send as air cargo to disaster areas from Hurricanes Maria and Irma at Savannah Air National Guard Base in Georgia. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Air National Guard Airmen with the 165th Air Terminal Operations Center at Savannah Air National Guard Base were operating around the clock this week to send disaster relief to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The group of more than 16 Airmen began 12-hour shifts for handling air cargo out of Savannah shortly after the islands’ devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria became known.

By the looks of things here, the busy operations seemed a good sign that the military did not forget those in dire need.

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Carried response to Maria

Air National Guard Airmen with the 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah, Ga., drive forklifts with hurricane response supplies and gear for airlift to Puerto Rico and St. Croix, Sept. 25, 2017, at Savannah Air National Guard Base. The cargo was loaded onto a 143rd Airlift Wing, Rhode Island Air National Guard C-130J cargo aircraft. The flight departed this morning with a security forces contingency from the Washington Air National Guard as well as embedded national media from NBC nightly news. As of Monday morning, the 165th Airlift Wing loaded C-130 and KC-135 aircraft from 11 states with cargo, gear, and passengers in 69 sorties to the disaster areas in Puerto Rico and St. Croix. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

Air Guard wings line up at Savannah for Maria recovery

(A team of Air National Guard aerial porters from the 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah load a palette of water destined for St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Sept. 22, 2017. More than four tons of water and food will be delivered to people affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Photo by 165th Airlift Wing)

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Air National Guard Airmen began lining up operations for aircraft, cargo, and passengers through Savannah Air National Guard Base here Sept. 22 to support the recovery and relief operations after Hurricane Maria lined up to pulverize Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced disaster declarations shortly after Maria passed over the islands to be among the strongest recorded hurricanes to hit the United States. It followed two other major hurricanes making landfall this month.
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Air Guard continues hurricane recovery efforts

Air National Guard Airmen and civilians assigned to the ANG Crisis Action Team facility at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland work issues in support of Hurricane Irma relief efforts. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. — The Air National Guard continued its hurricane recovery efforts in multiple states today. Thousands of Airmen from nearly every state and territory were called to duty in the past weeks in the face of unprecedented back-to-back massive hurricanes that left the South reeling and broken.

Millions of homes and businesses were without power. Among them, tens of thousands of structures flooded, or completely shredded, with 50 inches of rain dumped in Texas and with wide-spread hurricane damage in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, and the Caribbean.

National Guard Bureau officials stressed during their afternoon joint operations meeting Sept. 12 that although the dangerous weather passed, the need for safety and need for the National Guard has not — as long as states request support they will remain operating, they said.

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Faculty’s formation

Faculty and staff assigned to the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center in East Tennessee formed ranks during a retreat ceremony with others at the Class 17-4 NCO Academy graduation May 16, 2017.

Military retreat ceremonies pay respect to the Flag when it is lowered at the end of a duty day and can include group formation, bugle call, salute and flag folding, among other traditions. TEC service members recite the Airman’s Creed at the end of their flag ceremonies.

TEC includes the Air Force’s largest enlisted professional military education center, which educates thousands of active duty, National Guard, Reserve Command and international students every year.