Chief Master Sergeant CATHARINE A. SPENCE

Chief Master Sgt. Catharine A. Spence is a member of the New York Air National Guard assigned as the Chief of the Training and Education Center University (TEC-U) Division for the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. She leads a staff of 18 people who support effective communications in public affairs and provide a diverse training and education environment for the total force. This service is delivered through focused strategic communication, enabling video production, broadcast, instructional development, and delivery tools. Chief Spence oversees the worldwide broadcast of educational training programs. She provides oversight to the Air National Guard’s premier $7 million television production/broadcast center.

Chief Spence enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 2000 with a career in Public Affairs. She attended the Defense Information School at Ft. Meade, Maryland, to study Public Affairs, followed by her first assignment to the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. At Dover, she served as staff writer and editor for the wing’s weekly newspaper as well as the acting Community Relations manager. In 2003, Chief Spence was assigned to the Air Force News Agency in San Antonio where she was the Print News assistant editor. In 2004, she deployed to Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a press release writer. In 2006, Chief Spence transferred from the active-duty Air Force to the New York ANG’s 109th Airlift Wing, home of the Department of Defense’s only ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules aircraft. During her time with the 109th AW’s Public Affairs office, she increased communication among Airmen in creating the unit’s first official social media page. She has also traveled to Antarctica and Greenland, documenting the wing’s mission supporting the National Science Foundation, as well as facilitating “media week” each year in Greenland, allowing national and international media to tell the story of the 109th AW and its Airmen. While assigned to the TEC, Chief Spence secured the Air National Guard’s sole Public Affairs skill-enhancement course for TEC-U oversight. She has provided 75 hours of instruction to the ANG on PA skills to include communication planning and media operations. Chief Spence received her master’s degree in strategic communication through Troy University in 2022. Prior to her current assignment, she was the Superintendent of TEC-U’s Production Branch at McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tennessee.


2004 Airman Leadership School, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas

2005 Associate of Applied Science Degree, Public Affairs, Community College of the Air Force

2010 Non-Commissioned Officers Academy, McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn.

2014 Leadership Development Course, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.

2015 Smokey Mountain Short Course for Video Skills, McGhee-Tyson ANGB, Tenn.

2016 TIME Workshop, Southbridge, Mass.

2018 Public Affairs Management Course, McGhee-Tyson ANGB, Tenn.

2019 Senior NCO Academy, by correspondence

2019 Instructor Certification Program, McGhee-Tyson ANGB, Tenn.

2020 Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education Part I, by correspondence

2021 ANG Contemporary Base Issues Course, virtual

2021 Bachelor of science degree, cultural studies, Empire State College, Saratoga, N.Y.

2021 Senior Enlisted Joint PME Part II, by correspondence

2022 Emotional Intelligence 2.0, McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn.

2022 Master of science degree, strategic communication, Troy University, Troy, Ala.


1.         July 2000 – March 2002, Staff Writer, 436th Airlift Wing, Dover AFB, Del.

2.         April 2002 – December 2002, Newspaper Editor, 436th Airlift Wing, Dover AFB, Del. (August 2002-November 2002, Public Affairs Apprentice, 16th Air       Expeditionary Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy)

3.         December 2002 – July 2003, Community Relations, 436th Airlift Wing, Dover AFB, Del.

4.         July 2003 – April 2005, Print News Assistant Editor, HQ Air Force News Agency, San Antonio, Texas (October 2004-March 2005, Press Release Writer, Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, Kabul, Afghanistan)

5.         April 2005 – July 2006, Assignment Desk Editor, HQ Air Force News Agency, San Antonio, Texas

6.         August 2006 – July 2012, Public Affairs Specialist, 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.

7.         May 2010 – September 2012, Family Programs Assistant, 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.

8.         July 2012 – July 2013, Paralegal, 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.

9.         July 2013 – August 2016, Photojournalist, 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.

10.      August 2016 – July 2019, Public Affairs NCOIC, 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.

11.      July 2019 – July 2023, Superintendent, Production, TEC University, McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn.

12.      July 2023 – Present, Chief, TEC University, McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn.


Meritorious Service Medal

Joint Services Commendation Medal

Air and Space Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Army Commendation Medal

Air and Space Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster


Airman First Class March 31, 2000

Senior Airman July 31, 2002

Staff Sergeant Oct. 1, 2005

Technical Sergeant Sept. 29, 2008

Master Sergeant Aug. 5, 2016

Senior Master Sergeant Oct. 1, 2019

Chief Master Sergeant July 21, 2023

(Current as of September 2023)