NCO academy graduation held on campus

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

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- The Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center graduated the first NCO Academy class on its East Tennessee campus since pandemic health protection actions suspended EPME classrooms.

The total force class of nearly 80 students arrived at the campus more than five weeks ago to broaden their leadership skills and strengthen their military careers.

“We need great NCOs to lead our Airmen into the future,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Bret Copple, the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education command chief. Chief Copple shared his experiences and lessons with the class as the event’s featured speaker.

Speakers pointed out the energy that the students brought back to the campus and the community. The EPME Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base remained quiet when all virtual classes took over in June of 2020. The returning students also volunteered hundreds of hours while in the surrounding community.

Lankford Center is providing both virtual and in-resident EPME for the foreseeable future. The last in-resident NCO academy graduation was February 10, 2020.