Lankford EPME welcomes new commandant

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Lankford EPME welcomes new commandant

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn.— The Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center, a division of the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, held a change of responsibility ceremony here Thursday.

Chief Master Sgt. Paul A. Butts assumed commandant duties for the Lankford’s center from Chief Master Sgt. Shaun W. Withers. The ceremony was presided over by Col. Angela. M. Tapia, commander of the TEC.

The change of responsibility ceremony is a time-honored tradition that commemorates the symbolic relinquishment of responsibility and leadership from one senior noncommissioned officer to another by passing the organizational colors.

“Today, I am incredibly humbled; humbled for the opportunity of being the commandant of this incredible organization,” said Butts. “Thank you for welcoming me; I am blessed by your kindness.”

 As Lankford Center’s 18th commandant, Butts is now charged with overseeing the Air National Guard’s only Total Force center for enlisted professional military education for instruction of the NCO Academy and Airman Leadership School. He also serves as the senior enlisted leader for the commander of the TEC for all enlisted matters.

 “Team Lankford, we will face challenges, but I am confident that we have the right team at the right time to overcome those challenges and share in our progress as we continue to lead Airmen into the future,” said Butts.

Prior to assuming the position of commandant, Butts served on the National Guard Bureau’s Joint Staff as a program manager and senior enlisted leader in the Joint Staff Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Arlington, Virginia.

“Chief Butts, my challenge to you is to empower this team — they won’t fail you; they are professionals, and they are fantastic,” said Withers.

Withers led as the Lankford’s center 17th commandant for two years, and after the culmination of more than 32 years of dedicated military service, he is retiring.