Alaska Guard chief arrives as EPME center Commandant

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
  • I.G. Brown Training and Education Center

An Alaska Air National Guard chief master sergeant arrived here recently as the 15th Commandant of the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee.

Chief Master Sgt. Winfield S. Hinkley spoke to his first group of EPME graduates under his supervision, during the Airman leadership school graduation banquet August 7 and then at the NCO academy graduation August 8. 

“EPME is fundamental for our Airmen to learn and develop the Air Force’s institutional competencies, ensuring mission success as our environment constantly changes,” said Hinkley.

“As Airmen go back to their units, I hope they do so with a little more passion, perspective and professionalism and understand they are the foundation of the leaders of tomorrow,” said Hinkley.

Chief Hinkley replaced Chief Master Sgt. Edward Walden, who left for reassignment as a command chief for the Texas Air National Guard.

The Air National Guard’s Lankford EPME Center includes about 45 instructors and support staff who conduct enlisted PME under the directive of the Air Force’s Thomas M. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education.

As Commandant, Chief Hinkley is responsible for the largest and longest running Air Force enlisted PME, with students assigned for NCOA and ALS from the regular Air Force, Air National Guard, and Reserve Command. The organization also hosts students from the Coast Guard and international partnerships. 

Chief Hinkley additionally serves as the senior enlisted advisor to Col. Kerry R. Lovely, the Commander, I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, for all enlisted matters.

Chief Hinkley grew up in Grand Gorge, N.Y., and enlisted in 1992. He transitioned from the regular Air Force to the Alaska Air National Guard in 2013. He was the Comptroller Flight Superintendent for the 176th Wing, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, before this assignment.