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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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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Hurricane change of station

Army National Guard Sgt. Maj. Derwin Wesson and his wife Batina or “Blue” Wesson, await a flight out of Savannah Air National Guard Base to St. Croix, Sept. 24, 2017. Wesson is the incoming Virgin Islands Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major. The couple was delayed at the Georgia Air National Guard, 165th Airlift Wing processing center with their cat and three dogs during their change of station, amidst hurricane disaster recovery efforts in the Caribbean. Hundreds of military, state and federal personnel are processing through the support for contingency operations center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

Flag’s up for Airman Leadership School

Staff Sgt. Mary Pelletier led the morning reveille today, August 22, for Airman Leadership School, Class 17-9, at the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee. One hundred and eighteen fellow students backed her up, as well as the commander, commandant, instructors, and staff.

“SQUADRON, ATTEN HUT!” said Pelletier, calling the formation to attention before the raising of the flag.

It is a recurring Tuesday ceremony when EPME classes are in session. The formation also recites The Airman’s Creed.

EPME students in ALS and NCO academy begin leading reveille and retreat after some practice sessions.

Sergeant Pelletier and the others in ALS are at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center campus for the five-week school, which prepares them to serve as front-line supervisors.

The campus is the U.S. Air Force’s largest and longest continuously running EPME center, which began NCO academy classes during the summer of 1968.

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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How are buildings named? A brick on our past contributors, heroes, founders

Lankford. Morrisey. Wilson.

You can read these and other names affixed to the outside brick of the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center buildings in East Tennessee, which shelter and support thousands of service members every year.

With the recent announcement of the new facility to be named Craig R. McKinley Hall, it is okay to wonder who are these people, and how did they get a building named for them?

The Air Force Memorialization Program has a detailed naming process for installations, buildings, rooms, facilities, streets, and other property. This criterion ensures these honors stand the test of time and get vetted properly.

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