Utah Air Guard Members Honored During CCAF Graduation Ceremony

  • Published
  • By SSgt Annie Edwards
  • 151 ARW/PA
A commencement ceremony was held to honor 34 members of the Utah Air National Guard receiving degrees from the Community College of the Air Force, on November 3, 2013, at the Utah Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake City. These individuals earned a total of 40 associate degrees in applied science.

Guest speaker Colonel Samuel Ramsay III, 151st Air Refueling Wing commander, congratulated the graduates and expressed his gratitude for their hard work and effort. Ramsay told the recipients that these CCAF degrees will help not only the individuals and their families, but the Air Force and the Utah Air National Guard as well.

"You have increased your own personal capability. You've dynamically increased your ability to pursue something to the end and you are rewarded with an increase in knowledge and capability," said Ramsay. "This increase in knowledge and capability rolls over into an increase in opportunity out here for you as well."

Several representatives from outside universities and associations were present to recognize student achievements and award scholarships. The top two graduating enlisted personnel will be awarded a $400 grant from the Air Force Association's Pitsenbarger Award. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University awarded a $200 scholarship to all graduates. DeVry University offered a free to course to graduates as part of their Bridge to Bachelors program.

University of Phoenix awarded a Kindle Fire to Chief Master Sgt. Barry Vance. They gave the award to the graduate who won an essay contest about what education means to them. "Life is a process of learning. From the first day of life, until the last day of life, education occurs", wrote Vance.

"Every enlisted member in the Air Force is automatically enrolled in the CCAF when they have completed basic training and tech school," said Master Sgt. Julie Nuccitelli, Base Training and Education Manager. In addition to credit received from the CCAF for their military training, individuals must earn general education requirements through a locally accredited college or university.

In most cases, once a person has completed basic training, technical school, and Airman Leadership School, the individual will only need to take an additional 15 credit hours consisting of one class from each of five different general education categories.

Earning an applied associates from the CCAF is also important for individual career advancement. Implementation of a new policy will make it a requirement for promotion to Senior Master Sgt. or Chief Master Sgt., said Nuccitelli. The associates degree may then be transferred to the Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative (ABC) Program in order to pursue a four year degree.

The CCAF program has continued to grow during the past two years. The Utah Air National Guard program has seen a steady increase in the number of individuals awarded degrees at each graduation ceremony, which are held twice per year.

In 2012, the Utah Air National Guard received a certificate of recognition for outstanding achievement. During that year, 1.9% of the total assigned population received an associate's degree through CCAF. This year, 2.9% of the assigned population will receive their degrees.