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Education center reflects on 50 years: Part One – ‘Before him, there was nothing’

LOUISVILLE, Tenn – The Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

In honor of a half-century of learning, this feature series highlights TEC, from its first classes in a World War II-era aircraft hangar to the present day.

What does it take to put an education center together? Part One looks back at 1968 to 1978.

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Cargo flight to Saint Croix – enlisted leader, spouse find new assignment

Sassy, a Yorkshire Terrier, awaits a flight out of Savannah Air National Guard Base to St. Croix, Sept. 24, 2017, along with three other pets. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith) 

SAVANNAH AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ga. – The National Guard hit the ground running this week to bring disaster response to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but getting off to a quick start is an understatement for Batina “Blue” Wesson and her husband, Army Sgt. Maj. Derwin Wesson.

Sergeant Major Wesson is the incoming U.S. Virgin Islands National Guard Command Sergeant Major. Hurricane Maria hit before he could arrive to take the position as the senior noncommissioned officer for all enlisted Soldiers.

“We’re going in with boots on the ground and get in,” said Blue.

She sat outside the door of an Air National Guard airlift hub and contingency processing center Sept. 24 at Savannah Air National Guard Base in Georgia. The sergeant major checked on their flight to Saint Croix. Accompanying her were their pets, Zoo, a Bengal cat, as well as three dogs – Sassy and Pinky Winky – both Yorkshire Terriers – and Mr. Biggie – a Miniature Pinscher.

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Commentary: Airport name honors Guard general’s son, who enlisted into Great War 100 years ago

(Image: A Curtiss H-16 patrol seaplane on a reconnaissance flight from U.S. Naval Air Station, Killingholm, England, Nov. 06, 1918. Photo courtesy Naval History and Heritage Command.)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – This July, 100 years ago, Charles McGhee Tyson, a Princeton University Graduate and a successful textile businessman in Knoxville, Tenn., enlisted as a seaman, second class, into the U.S. Naval Reserve Flying Corps. His service and sacrifice in the Great War would make him one of the area’s more memorialized service members.

Those who ever served at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base or flew into McGhee Tyson Airport probably know the name, but some are not aware of the man and the family behind it.

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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.

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Guard Civil Support Team brings unique capability to exercise

By Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith | National Guard Bureau

FORT LEWIS, Wash. – In a training exercise that involved a suspected improvised explosive device releasing an unknown poisonous gas, the Washington National Guard’s 10th Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team (CST) responded to the mock danger area May 2.

Their actions were part of a larger, national exercise hosted by the Department of Homeland Security called “National Level Exercise 2008” (NLE-08).

The multi-state venue joined federal, state and local responders May 1-8 in east and west coast training scenarios, which tested their ability to react to domestic emergencies.

Guardmembers here trained at the 52-building urban training center called “Leschi Town” on Fort Lewis. The comparative ghost town is an active-duty Army property on the southern end of the base’s 86,000 acres. Normally, it prepares combat Soldiers for military operations in urban terrain. Here, responders used it in NLE-08 to simulate downtown Seattle.

“Primarily for the CST, this isn’t anything above and beyond what they normally do, as far as the hazard and the detection of it,” said Jeff Taylor, U.S. Army North evaluator.

Taylor and a U.S. Army North team evaluated the 10th CST to see if the team’s response met a multitude of regulations and standards.

Civil Support Teams augment local and regional response capabilities in events known or suspected to involve the use of chemical, biological or radiological agents. Currently, there is at least one Guard CST in each U.S. state and territory.

“We are kind of considered second responders; with the local authorities being first responders,” said Capt. Matt James, CST operations officer.

James explained that when a CST arrives on the scene, they work for the local incident commander and bring him a unique capability to analyze suspected hazardous agents on site.

“We make a large effort to get to know many of those local authorities throughout the state as possible,” said James.

“One of the things that they are able to gain here is working with additional state and federal forces as well as civil authorities,” said Taylor. “It’s more of the concept of the joint operation with the multiple agencies involved and how they would work with them in a real event.”

On their arrival at the exercise, the CST immediately set up their operation area. They readied their medical truck, analysis lab truck and communication equipment. They put up a decontamination tent and an operations tent.

A two-member survey team carefully checked and donned “Saratoga” chemical suits and self-contained breathing systems to enter the mock chemical hazard area evaluators had laid out for them.

The survey team then combed through Leschi Town looking for hazardous agents with their detectors and radioed in information pertinent to responders including the location of mock civilians needing medical attention and extraction. Exercise officials reported 77 mock deaths in this scenario with more than 1,800 injured.

James said such exercises test the team’s readiness to respond to actual emergencies, including actions on-site like collecting information, analyzing, conducting operations and working with the community.

“They are all things we need to continually rehearse to stay proficient,” he said.

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New York Army aircrew lifts 19,000-pound cable spool to mountain

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

LAKE PLACID, NY – Whiteface Mountain manager, Jay Rand, stands in a clearing at the base of Whiteface Mountain on a September morning looking with anticipation towards the eastern Adirondack skyline. Directly aside Rand is a ten-ton spool of cable so thick in diameter, and you could not wrap both hands around it. Roughly eight miles away and 3000 feet above him is the summit of Whiteface.