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)

Training center, experts urge safety in path of solar eclipse

(Image: The Minuteman statue outside Patriot Hall at the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center in East Tennessee dons a pair of eclipse glasses, June 22, 2017, to emphasize the need for safe viewing of the coming solar eclipse.)

The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center staff, as well as students lucky enough to be assigned here Monday, August 21, will be seated directly in the path of totality during the North American Eclipse.

McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee borders both cities inside the area where the moon completely blocks light from the sun. Given good weather, experts predict those in Louisville, Tenn., should expect to see the partial phase beginning at 1:04 PM (EDT) and up to total blackout at 2:33 PM, lasting for 1 minute and 26 seconds. Those in Alcoa, Tenn. will see 1 minute 24 seconds of totality.

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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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Anchoring an officer commissioning program’s memory

Stored for nearly three years, the relocation of the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center’s Drosendahl Memorial this month to the running track provides a weathered reminder of the Air National Guard’s Academy of Military Science officer commissioning program that’s no longer on campus.

Without this gray granite stone, without the seven inscribed AMS graduate names of those alumni who died serving the nation, without some other traces, only a few staff would recall TEC once having officer candidates, said the Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. David Meece.

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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.