MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center marked its 45th anniversary June 21 of professional military education which serves all of the nation's Air National Guard units as well as the total U.S. Air Force, government agencies and international partners.
Past and current staff and instructors as well as alumni gathered at Spruance Hall where TEC's first commander, retired U.S. Air National Guard Col. Edmund Morrisey, as well as current Commander, Col. Timothy J. Cathcart, made remarks.
Officials at the Air National Readiness Center on Joint Base Andrews, Md., watched the event live, via TEC TV's Warrior Network video teletraining system.
"It is my privilege to commemorate this milestone..." said Brig. Gen. Scott Williams, ANGRC commander. "You have truly embraced the vision of Major General I.G. Brown."
The group then watched a video that commemorated the TEC's history and accomplishments.
On July 19, 1968, the TEC's first faculty and their 103 students completed the Air National Guard's first six-week Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA).
The school expanded rapidly and added NCO Leadership School - precursor to today's Airman Leadership School (ALS) - in 1970 and an officer preparatory academy. The NCO school was the first of its kind to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for credit toward an associate degree.
"I thought it was a very effective school," said retired Chief Master Sgt. George Vitzthum in the video. Vitzhum, who taught early on, later became the TEC's second commandant.
The TEC's Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center - named after its first deputy commandant - has since graduated nearly 35,000 NCOA students as well as nearly 19,000 ALS students.
More than 14,600 U.S. Air Force officers earned their commissions on the campus prior to the 2009 relocation of the Academy of Military Science to Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Still thousands of others attended TEC's Professional Continuing Education courses.
"Your school house is now known as the Air National Guard crown jewel," said Morrisey.
Other commemoration events included a cake cutting to celebrate the anniversary with Morrisey's birthday, and a dedication of Building 401 - a multi-purpose building on campus built about a decade ago - now named "Wingman Hall."
The TEC was dedicated during its 10th anniversary in honor of the first Director of the Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. I.G. Brown, who envisioned and established it.
"[Maj. Gen. I.G. Brown's] advice was very, very simple," said Morrisey in the commemorative video. He said 'make this work,' and little did I know the extents that make this work would spread to."
The TEC's EPME today remains the Air Force's largest, and Airman Leadership School here accounts for the majority of Air National Guard ALS students.
Today the TEC has about 85 Total Force staff members. About two-thirds are instructors who teach an average 18 EPME courses and more than 40 PCE courses annually.
The TEC also boasts the only blended learning satellite EPME in the U.S. Air Force. Its recent $2.4 million upgrade to its Media Engagement Division broadcast studio established it among other government agencies as a center of satellite and media production technology.
"Every day, America's Airmen support their communities, defend our homeland and go around the globe taking care of business - and we have prepared a huge number of them for their success and the success of our nation," said Cathcart.