New Year, new requirement

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Antwine
  • 39th Air Base Wing command chief
Happy New Year everyone; I hope you all had a great 2006 and made plans for a prosperous 2007. I am sure you all achieved most of your goals and set new ones or at least reviewed and adjusted your previous goals for this year. One area that continues to be important for everyone when setting goals both personally and professionally is education. In fact, 2007 brings many great changes to the military; to include the new educational requirement for promotion beyond master sergeant.

Senior NCOs must now complete their associate's degree through The Community College of the Air Force to receive a senior rater's endorsement on their enlisted performance reports. The CCAF degree has always been one of those unwritten requirements that was enforced subjectively at various installations; this new requirement makes it completely objective and fair across the board.

I had the pleasure of participating in our recent CCAF graduation in which 31 of our finest Airmen received their degrees, many of whom received their second and third associate's degree to compliment their bachelor's and master's degree. I was proud to see the numerous young Airmen and junior NCOs make a commitment to further their education, despite other obligations such as job demands, family events and deployments. I was especially proud to see my fellow SNCOs set the example of not only completing their degree requirements, but by also attending the graduation. Too often, the significance of the CCAF's associate's degree is not highlighted enough; most Airmen tend to focus on two and four-year degree programs from other institutions, thinking they carry more weight. Nothing could be further from the truth - Master Sgt. William Peoples, 39th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant, said it best. When I asked if he planned to attend the graduation, he replied, "Of course, this is my third associate's degree and it is equally, if not more important than the other two." All three of which are neatly displayed in his office with his master's degree. I had to agree with him on the importance of the CCAF degree, because without mine, I would have been forced to retire under the high year of tenure program with two less stripes on my arm. I would have missed the opportunity to serve in a number of great jobs, and assignments, not to mention the thousands of dollars I would not have earned to support my family in the past as well as the future. Life is good retiring as a master sergeant but it is even better retiring as a senior master sergeant or a chief master sergeant.

The Incirlik Education Center's staff is excellent; they are ready, willing, and able to advise and assist you in planning and achieving your personal and professional educational goals. Take advantage of our outstanding Air Force educational benefits, schools, CLEPs, DANTES, and online courses that are available here and begin, continue, or complete your educational goals. Please note that despite your automatic CCAF enrollment in basic military training, you are still required to manage and update your status; there are periodic catalog adjustments that may levy additional requirements/courses to achieve your associate's degree. Please visit your education center today.