Airmen inspire others through smartphone clips

  • Published
  • I.G. Brown Training and Education Center

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- Following its inception in late May, the TEC University online learning initiative, From the Force, has found its way with contributors from all ranges of subjects now uploading to the platform.

One such contributor is U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith, Public Affairs manager and photojournalist here. In the Public Affairs career field, Air Force photojournalists and broadcast journalists have been learning the skills of the other as they merge the two specialties into one. Sergeant Smith saw From the Force as an opportunity to teach some of his photography skills to his peers across the Air National Guard - specifically his best practices when taking official photos.

“I thought that broadcasters who now need to know studio photography could benefit from this,” Sergeant Smith said. “Along with anyone in the Public Affairs field who just needs a refresher or some tips and tricks on how to get that official photo from start to finish.”

Sergeant Smith uploaded a five-part series, going over best practices for creating an official photo according to the official Public Affairs Air Force Instruction. Utilizing proper lighting techniques and even detailing the post-production facets of the process, he goes over his process and shares with the viewer the technical aspects needed to bring the best possible product to the client.

With nearly 27 years as an Airman and prior Navy Sailor, Sergeant Smith sees From the Force as a modern solution to a modern problem.

“Anyone can grab their smartphone and take a video showcasing best practices they use to get the job done, and it’s another training solution for the Air National Guard,” he said.

In an environment where the demand for remote learning increases, this latest offering from TEC University is aimed squarely at that demographic.

“From the Force is training for Airmen by Airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Catharine Schmidt, TEC-U Production superintendent. “We want to be able to provide an easily accessible training tool for Airmen all across the Air National Guard. And there are so many Airmen out there with a wealth of knowledge and expertise - we are here to give them the avenue to share that with their peers.”

Other videos now available on From the Force include weapons use, EPR bullet writing, electrical installation, weightlifting, effective communication, and more.

The simple and accessible nature of the training allows for maximum participation and bite-sized learning, shown to be more effective for learning new subjects. To get started, log onto If you have a video that you’d like to submit or questions on how to do so, email