Short-term instructors encourage students, climb mountain

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
  • I.G. Brown Training and Education Center
Two enlisted professional military education instructors from the regular Air Force graduated two NCO Academy flights here Oct. 9, through temporary duty assignment at the Paul H. Lankford Enlisted PME Center.

Master Sgt. Jason Ramon and Tech. Sgt. Michael Hubbard served on short-term duty with the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center.

The TEC's officials said that staff training and regular reassignments created a temporary shortfall of qualified EPME instructors.

"Their willingness to help us in our time of need was invaluable," said Senior Master Sgt. Paula Shawhan, director of education for in-resident EPME. "This was an amazing partnership and opportunity with our fellow NCOA instructors from other school houses."

Ramon is an Air Force NCO Academy instructor normally assigned at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. Hubbard is a NCO Academy instructor who arrived from Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.

"In addition to the passion they brought to the students, the opportunity to share lessons learned between schoolhouses only makes us better," said Shawhan.

Hubbard's assignment at Sheppard Air Force Base NCO Academy incudes working with a staff of nearly two dozen who, like TEC, teach leadership to regular Air Force, National Guard and Reserve Command Airmen.

"It's a fairly new academy there," said Hubbard. He added that he was impressed with the level of autonomy TEC's instructors were given with their student flights.

"We were accepted in and got right to work," said Hubbard.

Hubbard said that he first trained for special duty as an EPME instructor back in 2013.

After nearly a decade of service, he said he wanted to help develop leaders who take active roles in developing Airmen.

"A supervisor can make or break an Airman," said Hubbard. "Especially new Airmen in how they are treated ... you can completely ruin them with bad supervision."

Hubbard and Ramone also took in the beauty of Tennessee's Smoky Mountains.

That included a 13.9-mile hike, 3,665 feet up and back down Thunderhead Mountain to the famous "Rocky Top" overlook.

TEC's Chaplain, Lt. Col. Bruce Brewer, accompanied them.

They climbed and scrabbled together along the Appalachian Trail and inside the national park. 

"That was awesome," said Hubbard. "I enjoy going to different places and seeing different things and didn't mind coming here to assist," he said.

"That was a great time," said Ramon.

Ramon instructed O-Flight. It was his 21st flight, which he guided and taught lessons to for six weeks.

"I've had some great flights, and this was one of them," said Ramon.

Outside the classroom, Ramon and O-Flight volunteered at Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport one night to help welcome home war veterans from a memorial tour in Washington, DC.

The students also attended Ramon's promotion to Master Sergeant, Sept. 30, during a ceremony held by the TEC commander, Col. Jessica Meyeraan.

"I've been treated like family here," said Ramon. "It's a top notch organization just like what I have down there - from the Colonel, down."

Ramon instructed for Tyndall AFB's NCO Academy for more than three years after more than 14 years of service in Air Force Traffic Management.

"I am able to educate, maybe mentor, technical sergeants, who might have many years of service and just want to go back to their old ways," said Ramon. "That's a challenge, but it's our job as NCOs and it's our mission as instructors. It can be very rewarding."

Ramon said that both academies run things different, but that both develop Airmen.

"They do a good job here in working with that Generation Y ... through phone texts, and technology and they get students from A-Z with less structure," said Ramon. "But both academies are effective and achieve the same product, which are leaders."