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Niagara Falls Airmen take first steps toward satellite EPME

The 107th Airlift Wing hosted an Instructor Certification Program (ICP) here this past week with 16 New York Air National Guardsmen attending in order to become facilitators for Professional Military Education (PME) courses. Master Sgt. William Conner from Knoxville, Tennessee is one of the instructors for this course.  Mar. 3, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo/ Tech Sgt. Brandy Fowler)

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. - Master Sgt. Bill Conner teaches an Instructor Certification Program lesson to 16 New York Airmen, March 3, 2015, here to help establish satellite enlisted professional military education with the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center. Conner and Tammy Smeltzer both traveled from the TEC to hold the course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Brandy Fowler/Released)

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- The 107th Airlift Wing hosted the Instructor Certification Program here with instructors from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center this past week.

The ICP prepares NCOs to facilitate Air Force EPME classes at their home station through satellite, distance learning, which helps cut travel costs and increase availability and efficiency, said officials. It lasted 10 days.

Tammy Smeltzer, professional and continuing education director, and Master Sgt. Bill Conner, training manager, traveled here from the TEC to instruct the course.

The course is demanding, they said, with many homework assignments as well as graded presentations and lesson plans. Students receive four college credits for completing ICP.

The graduated facilitators were then certified to help Airmen if and when satellite Airman leadership school or NCO academy is offered through the TEC.

The Air Force requires all Airmen to attend either in-resident or satellite EPME in order to gain in rank and to develop their leadership skills.

Col. Robert Kilgore, wing commander, said that a satellite EPME program here is of utmost importance for the wing.

"The Guard has a difficult time getting our young Airmen into [in-resident] Airman leadership school in the past, and we needed a solution to that problem," said Kilgore.

The wing's command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Philip Tavenier, said that satellite EPME allows the wing to train in Niagara Falls and increase the availability and options for ALS and NCO academy.

"We are going to be the next class registered for a satellite ALS course," said Tavenier.