Chief Master Sgt. Steven A. Durrance was announced Sept. 13 to become the 16th commandant of the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center by the Commander of the Air National Guard’s I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, Col. Kerry R. Lovely.
“Chief Durance has a wealth of experience and education that make him ideal to lead our EPME center,” Colonel Lovely said in a staff-wide email.
Chief Durrance will become responsible for the daily operations and public perception of the U.S. Air Force’s largest EPME Center. The Center prepares thousands of future, Total Air Force leaders each year through NCO Academy and Airman Leadership School. International students include those from Jordan, Bulgaria, Canada, and Kazakhstan as part of the National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program, and NCOs from the U.S. Coast Guard attend regularly. The Center established in June 1968 on McGhee Tyson Air Guard Base in East Tennessee.
Senior Master Sgt. Ann Ramey Stokes is currently serving as interim commandant since the August reassignment of former Commandant, Chief Master Sgt. Winfield Hinkley, Jr., as Alaska National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader.
Chief Durrance leaves his assignment in the Washington National Guard's 141st Medical Group at Fairchild Air Force Base, where he is superintendent. He is also the senior enlisted advisor, J-3, Joint Taskforce Operations in the 10th Homeland Response Force - WA. In this capacity, he is responsible to the governor and the adjutant general on all Air resources, readiness, and training required by FEMA for 185 Airmen to support regional domestic responses.
Chief Durrance has more than 28 years of service – with ten years in the regular Air Force – including assignments/service in maintenance, weapons/tactics, and avionics, as well as an AC-130H aircraft gunner and SERE instructor. He has worked in counterdrug operations and as a First Sergeant, among other duties.
Chief Durance’s BIO lists more than a dozen deployments for overseas contingencies and operations, including his most recent deployment that involved moving a joint task force from Balad Air Force Base to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, during ongoing operations.
Among his other degrees and certifications, Chief Durrance earned his bachelor’s in Strategic Leadership from Southwestern College.