The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center welcomed a new commander in a formal military change of command ceremony on Jan. 14.
“Sir, I assume command,” said Col. Bradley N. McRee, the deputy commander of the 245th Civil Engineering Flight of the North Carolina Air National Guard, as he accepted the center’s flag of command from Maj. Gen. William H. Etter, the deputy director of the Air National Guard.
As commander, McRee will have overall responsibility for the mission of the Training and Education Center, which is to ‘facilitate change through the education and training of military leaders.’
More than 4,200 students receive training here each year at enlisted professional military education courses and classes in subjects ranging from explosives safety orientation to food services, recruiting, security and expeditionary medical support.
McRee is the 10th commanding officer to lead the center since it was founded in 1968. He succeeds Col. Richard B. Howard, who has served in the position since March 2009, and retired with more than 30 years of service in a ceremony following the change of command.
“Brad will be a great commander,” Howard told an audience of military members, friends and family. “He’s a great champion of the TEC, of the Air Guard, and the total force.”
“This begins a rewarding and exciting time for him,” said Howard. “He has a wealth of experience and is well prepared for this command assignment.”
McRee began his military career in 1986, as an aircraft maintenance officer with the North Carolina Air National Guard. While maintaining a civilian career as a consulting, civil and city engineer, he served his unit in various roles and positions and gained extensive leadership and management experience. He has also traveled worldwide in support of real world deployments to various locations in Europe, the Middle East, and the America’s.
And while McRee may be its new commander, he is no stranger to the Training and Education Center.
From 2004 to 2008, McRee was the commandant of the Academy of Military Science here. During that time, he led a team in commissioning more than 2,000 second lieutenants in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. When the program relocated to Maxwell AFB, Ala., to form a partnership with the Air Force’s Officer Training School, he was selected by the Director of the Air National Guard to assist with the transition.
Since then, McRee has balanced his responsibilities as a drill status guardsman with the North Carolina Air National Guard with assignments at the Training and Education Center. He has led an expansion effort for the center and created an $18 million military construction package for new dormitories and classrooms, which awaits funding. McRee has also led the development of the center’s strategic plan for the future.
McRee thanked the audience for the honor to serve the center, “It is both humbling and exciting to be your next commander. I appreciate what our predecessors, Colonel Howard, and each of you have done to bring success and honor to this institution through your professionalism and hard work, and I promise to do the same.”