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Airmen honored for earning CCAF degrees

By C. Todd Lopez

BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE, Washington, D.C. (May 31, 2007) -- Several hundred members of the Bolling Air Force Base community gathered May 24 at the Bolling Officers Club to honor those who had earned degrees from the Community College of the Air Force and other schools.

Some 76 Airmen from both Bolling AFB and the Pentagon have recently graduated from the CCAF. They were joined by seven Airmen who earned degrees from Central Texas College and 22 Airmen who earned degrees from University of Maryland University College.

Col. Kurt F. Neubauer, 11th Wing Commander, told graduates that the knowledge they gained by studying to earn their degrees was of great benefit to the Air Force.

"Knowledge is power. For the folks that are wearing the blue suit of the United States Air Force, knowledge is a force multiplier," he said. "That is what separates our enlisted force from the rest of the world. That is what makes you the finest."

Colonel Neubauer also asked graduates to recognize the family members, supervisors and co-workers around them who helped make their academic achievements possible. He said that while earning their degrees was an individual achievement, it was not an individual effort.

Chief Master Sgt. Michael A. Smith, 11th Mission Support Group superintendent, acting as keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony, challenged each graduate to recognize their own destiny.

"Today graduates, I want each of you to say yes to your destiny," he said. "And by saying yes to your destiny, you may inspire someone else to reach their destiny."

Chief Smith also told the graduates he believed they were each destined for greatness, and asked them to explore in their own lives the ingredients that would turn their hopes into plans, and that which seems impossible into the possible.

During the graduation ceremony, five Airmen were singled out for recognition of their academic accomplishments as recipients of three separate awards.

Recipient of the Gen. Lester Lyles Scholarship Award, presented by the Air Force Association, was Tech. Sgt. Lisa R. Rodier. Sergeant Rodier was given a $500 dollar scholarship check.

A representative of the Association of Old Crows, the electronic warfare professional association, awarded Senior Airman Chanh C. Le a check as part of its enlisted tuition grant program. Airman Le's wife was on hand to receive the check.

Finally, three Airmen were recipients of the Pitsenbarger Award, awarded by the Air Force Association. The Pitsenbarger Award provides a single grant of $500 dollars to qualifying graduates of the CCAF who plan to pursue a baccalaureate degree. Recipients of the award included Staff Sgt. Steven W. Hawkins, Staff Sgt. Christina M. Taylor and Staff. Sgt. Joshua S. Kennedy.

Sergeant Kennedy, a manpower analyst, has served in the Air Force for five years now. He recently earned two CCAF degrees, one in human resource management and one in information systems technology. He said his CCAF degrees are stepping stones to greater academic achievements.

"It's a beginning step in the rest of my education," he said. "I'll be going on to Towson University and pursuing my bachelor's degree in business administration."

Sergeant Kennedy hopes to return to the Air Force, as an officer, after earning his bachelor's degree.