EPME welcomes new commandant

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mavi Smith
  • The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center
The Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center welcomed a new commandant during a formal military change of commandant ceremony at Wilson Hall, Feb. 10.

"I am incredibly honored," Chief Master Sgt. Donald E. Felch told an audience of more than 500 guests after he accepted the flag from Col. Bradley N. McRee, commander of The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center.

Felch assumes leadership of the Lankford Center from previous commandant Chief Master Sgt. Deborah F. Davidson, who has served in the position since February 2007, and retired with more than 31 years of service in a ceremony on Feb. 9.

Established in 1968, the Lankford Center has trained more than 30,000 enlisted service members to lead, follow, and manage at its Airman Leadership School, Noncommissioned Officer Academy, and satellite broadcast version of each program.

Today, more than 2,200 enlisted members attend courses here each year.

As commandant, Felch will have the overall responsibility of ensuring the center's continued success.

Felch comes here from Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala., where he served as the Air National Guard advisor to the commander of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education. As advisor, he provided guidance on Air National Guard issues involving policy, program requirements, and curriculum for all levels of enlisted education and professional development.

Felch said this new assignment is significant to him because "developing Airmen is a passion of mine."

Felch has a long history with the center, dating back to 1998, when he attended the Noncommissioned Officer Academy here.

A year later, he returned for a three-year tour as an enlisted professional military education instructor.

Felch said the opportunity to lead the center where he was once a student and then instructor is important to him.

"I'm committed to employing all of my training, education and experience on this historic campus," he said. "To be able to bring it back to my alma mater and plug those concepts and principles in that I've learned...is a gift."

From his new office window overlooking the campus, Felch will be reminded of the importance of the mission of the Lankford Center and the service members who attend classes here. From here he can see the stone that was placed at the base of the U.S. flagpole by his own class more than 10 years ago, NCOA Class 98-04, as a gift to the center.

If he looks closely, he can read what they inscribed upon it: "With the blood of every Airman, Seaman, Soldier and Marine, woven into her every stitch, she still waves at us."

"It's great to be back," said Felch. "It's like coming home, it really is."