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National Guard's satellite EPME offered in Kansas

McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Students attending the Satellite Noncommissioned Officer Academy Class 13-9, from the 184th Intelligence Wing, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., gather at the I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center here, Dec. 10, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Students attending the Satellite Noncommissioned Officer Academy Class 13-9, from the 184th Intelligence Wing, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., gather at the I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center here, Dec. 10, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Education and Training Officials announced recently that the Air National Guard's Satellite Airman Leadership School should be offered here in 2015.

The 184th Intelligence Wing's announcement comes after establishing Satellite NCO Academy, about a year ago, through the Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center, at the I.G Brown Training and Education Center (TEC) on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Tennessee.

That EPME course has since graduated two base classes.

Satellite EPME opens up opportunities for Airmen interested in experiencing in-residence enlisted professional military education but may have circumstances that prevent them from leaving home for six weeks.

"The students get the full, in-residence experience with the convenience of being at home," said Master Sgt. Stacy Harvey, site facilitator.

Previous satellite students met two evenings a week for 13 weeks. Classes included every aspect of the in-residence school, including TEC instructors, open ranks inspections and professional accountability.

"We have to treat the students like they're in-residence," said Harvey. "The students are expected to be on time, have outstanding uniforms and adhere to military customs and courtesies at all times."

While the students were in class, they viewed briefings and interacted with instructors via satellite. They also communicated with classes from across the United States.

Group discussions and break-out sessions were also held.

The course had a fitness program, which provides a full-body workout while focusing on proper form.

"Human performance isn't your typical Air Force PT," said Tech. Sgt. Chris Schulte, site administrator.

Exercises included the basics like running, squats, lunges and pushups, as well as butterfly sit-ups, mountain climbers, squat thrusts and burpees.

"The exercises we do ... are the exact movements they will do at [TEC]," said Harvey. "When they get to the in-residence portion, it's expected that the students know how to do the warm up and cool down sequence without guidance."

Once the 13-week training was complete, the students attended a two-week in-residence course at the TEC. The graduates earned the same in-residence credit as those who attended full in-residence, including a certificate and an NCO PME graduate ribbon.

"It gives Airmen one more option for getting EPME accomplished," said Schulte.

The satellite course also offers more openings - the wing gets just six openings a year for in-residence NCO Academy, but satellite allows the wing to train up to 28 students.

The satellite course offers graduates the opportunity to serve as base facilitators too.

The wing has seven facilitators.

A satellite facilitator provides the link between the student and TEC's instructors. They lead classroom sessions, mentor students and maintain class discipline.

Those interested in serving as a facilitator must submit an application package, which is vetted locally and then sent to the TEC. Applicants also interview.

"It's a competitive process," said Harvey.

Applicants need an associate's degree and a passing physical fitness test without exemption, and they must embody the wing's goals.

"You really need to want to mentor Airmen," said Harvey.

Selected applicants attend an instructor certification program. They facilitate up to the highest level of in-residence EPME they've graduated.

The Base Education and Training Office said the National Guard spends about $2,800 per student for in-resident NCO Academy. Satellite EPME saves money.

"Satellite EPME has become highly visible," said Harvey. "It will be the way of the future."