Selfridge Airmen Earn CCAF Degree

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
For almost 40 years, the Community College of the Air Force has been at the forefront of the Air Force's transformation into a high-tech fighting force.

In a short ceremony May 16 at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, 24 Air Force noncommissioned officers received their CCAF diplomas, joining more than 335,000 others who have earned the credential.

Col. Leonard Isabelle, 127th Operations Group commander, said by participating in the CCAF program, the graduates have not only gained additional skills to help them perform their job better, "but you have also learned how to think creatively to figure out new and better ways to get things done."

Staff Sgt. George Farrell, a member of the 127th Logistics Readiness Squadron, was among the graduates, earning an associate of applied science degree in logistics.

"I've been able to apply my CCAF credits toward a civilian degree, letting me work on two degrees at once," he said. "In today's world, you have to be able to show you have an education."

According to Technical Sgt. Vincent Peterson, who works in the Selfridge Base Education Office and oversees the CCAF program at the base, the degree benefits Airmen in both their professional career in the Air Force and in their life outside the Air Force.

"A CCAF degree can help a person toward promotion in the Air Force," Peterson said. "It can also help a person advance their civilian career."

The CCAF, which is unique among the military services, is open to all Air Force enlisted personnel. Airmen are awarded college credit through basic military training, technical training schools and professional military education courses. More than half of the 64 credits needed for the degree can be earned through military training. Students can then take classes at an accredited college or university on their own or take College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests to earn the needed credits in oral and written communication, math, social science and humanities. For most Airmen, earning credit in a speech class to fulfill the oral communication requirement for the degree is often a stumbling block.

"Many civilian colleges don't require a speech class for a degree, but the Air Force places a value on being able to communicate well," Peterson said.

Airmen who have worked in multiple Air Force Specialities often are able to earn multiple CCAF degrees.

Activated in 1972, the CCAF is the largest community college in the world. Isabelle said that more than 70 percent of chief master sergeants have earned a CCAF degree and more than 50 percent of master sergeants have earned the degree.