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Vitzthum Hall honors heritage, traditions of chief's legacy

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Retired Chief Master Sgt. George A. Vitzthum speaks during a building dedication ceremony in his name here Oct 8, 2015, at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Harlan/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Retired Chief Master Sgt. George A. Vitzthum speaks during a building dedication ceremony in his name here Oct 8, 2015, at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Harlan/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Retired Chief Master Sgt. George A. Vitzthum stands by the building in his name that was dedicated here Oct 8, 2015, with a celebration and ceremony with I.G. Brown Training and Education Center staff, friends and family. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Harlan/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Retired Chief Master Sgt. George A. Vitzthum stands by the building in his name that was dedicated here Oct 8, 2015, with a celebration and ceremony with I.G. Brown Training and Education Center staff, friends and family. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Harlan/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. George A. Vitzthum never cut ties to the Air National Guard detachment where he oversaw service member's education, and now the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center secured his memory on campus.

The TEC dedicated a dormitory building in Vitzthum's honor here Oct 8 with a ceremony in Wilson Hall.

The dedication included remarks from Vitzthum; from his daughter, retired Col. Carmella Lawson; from TEC's third commander, retired Col. Larry Martin; and from TEC's current commander, Col. Jessica Meyeraan.

"Because of our heritage and our traditions, we have come together to honor a great man and his legacy," said Meyeraan. 

Vitzthum Hall, or Building 406, provides temporary lodging for 98 students and guests and finished construction in April 1993 during a multi-million dollar campus building project. The TEC plans to renovate it sometime next fall.

Vitzthum served for more than 15 years with the TEC as a curriculum developer, as an instructor, as a training director and as its second commandant between 1970 and 1985. He retired from military service in 1993.

Air National Guard officials credited Vitzthum as a key figure in establishing the Airman leadership school, as well as the officer preparatory academy. He graduated the TEC's NCO academy in 1970 before he returned to help write and instruct those curriculums, among others.

"What we did is we found out what the Air National Guard needed ... and that's what we based it on, and then the student was always number one, everything revolved around the student," said Vitzthum.

The TEC's Paul H. Lankford EPME Center since graduated more than 20,000 Airman leadership school students.  More than 14,600 officers earned their commissions.

Vitzthum spoke for nearly 30 minutes on his career and experiences.

"I've been very fortunate," said Vitzthum to family, friends, veterans and Airmen. He thought back through his early career, when he served in Germany, and when he worked as junior electrical engineer on the space program with the first astronauts: "I've come a long ways."

Vitzthum joined the regular Air Force in 1955 and the Reserves in 1959. He joined the Missouri Air National Guard in 1963. He was a ground equipment technician, a first sergeant, an aircraft production scheduler and an honor guard, among many other duties, experiences and positions.