Chief Withers leads EPME center as 17th Commandant

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

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Shaun Withers became the 17th commandant of the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center this week at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in East Tennessee.

Chief Master Sgt. Steven Durrance, who led Lankford Center for more than three years, is retiring from military service.

The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center’s staff and faculty congratulated Chief Withers during a recent informal gathering at the base activities center. Lankford Center is a division assigned under TEC.

Chief Withers now runs the total force schoolhouse that instructs NCO Academy and Airman Leadership School, and it graduates thousands annually from those in-resident and virtual classes. He is also the senior enlisted leader for TEC’s 80-plus staff and faculty.

The new commandant is a graduate of the University of Management and Technology in Virginia. He first enlisted in the Massachusetts Air National Guard in March 1991 and then transferred to the Florida Air National Guard.

Chief Withers is a career-long public affairs and visual information expert who worked at the Air National Guard Readiness Center and served as the National Guard Bureau ANG PA Career Field Manager from the National Capital Region. He is also no stranger to the TEC campus, with assignments here since 2014 as the Superintendent of Productions and then as TEC-University division chief.

Chief Withers deployed three times in support of overseas contingencies, including Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, along with tours supporting Operations Northern and Southern Watch. He responded to domestic operations, which included support to civil authority missions during the 1998 Florida wildfires and Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, Opal, Irma, and, most recently, Maria.