HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
When the 2011-2012 Hurlburt Airman's Voice council began our term last November, we set out on a listening tour of our more than 2,500 fellow Airmen (E-1 through E-4.) We asked them what their priorities were, what they expected from us and how they wanted to make the most of their time while stationed at Hurlburt Field.
We heard them, and, as a result, we created our S-C-A-L-E agenda to provide more opportunities for our fellow Airmen to develop service, community, activity, leadership and education capabilities in 2012. The core of our agenda centered on the belief that our careers and the future of the Air Force depend on the actions that we do today.
Of those values listed in our questionnaire, a majority cited "education" as their top priority and a major factor in why they joined the Air Force. That trait is also reflected in the fact that 96 percent of the junior enlisted force here have at least 12 semester hours of college credit, according to the Air Force Personnel Center.
It's also no wonder why so many place earning their Community College of the Air Force degree before attending Airman Leadership School so highly. From what we've seen, it's probably one of the most sought after accomplishments to be submitted for their enlisted performance reports or Below the Zone promotion packages.
However, we noticed many of our fellow Airmen hit three common roadblocks along their educational journey that we wished to address. We recently conducted an Education Fest at the base education office Oct. 25 to go about solving these areas. We collectively called the solutions to these problems the three "knows" that will lead to a "YES!" when you've earned your CCAF degree.
1.) "Let the CCAF know you" = Have your transcripts sent to the CCAF
Before enlisting, Airmen may have given their college transcripts to their recruiter as a means to secure a higher rank. However, those credits were not automatically sent to the CCAF and may not be included on their progress report.
This step may not apply for all Airmen, but some may have already earned their degree and not yet know it. Check your university or community college's transcript procedures and have yours mailed to the following address:
100 South Turner Blvd
Gunter Annex AL 36114-3011
2.) "Know where you stand" = Check your CCAF Progress report
When you have a chance to view your Air Force work computer , log-on to the Air Force Portal and search for your Air Force Virtual Education Center. If you're logged in as a guest, click "register" and fill in your information.
Once complete, click on "CCAF View Progress Report" in the self service section. You should be able to see a collection of all of your applied college credits from before joining the Air Force as well as from Basic Military Training, technical school and other courses you've already taken.
You'll also see how many elective, technical, residency and core credits you have left to completing your degree.
3.) "Know you're not alone" = Visit the Education Center
Marie Clemens, the base guidance counselor, is here to help acquaint you with the ins and outs of applying for tuition assistance, understand the GI Bill and deciding which classes to take. She, as well as the entire education center staff, stands ready to assist you along your journey.
But unless you first go there, they cannot help you. The same can be said for the multitude of outreach liaisons and coordinators from the universities with offices there, too.
Speaking for myself, the happiest day of my Air Force career was the day I first set foot in the education center. They not only showed me how I could earn my CCAF, but get a Master's degree, too, and I was able to do both within 15 months of arriving here.
I do not believe there can always be equality of results when directly compared with my story-- but I do believe in equality of access and opportunity. Every one of my fellow Airmen can do what I did, thanks to the help and guidance of the education office.
As Dr. George Washington Carver once put it, "Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom."
It has been my sincere hope this past year as HAV president and overseer of the "Education" component of S-C-A-L-E that my fellow Airmen and I may all continue to share our stories of reaching our educational goals with the rest of our Air Force, too.
For more information about your CCAF, call the education center at 884-6724 and schedule an appointment with Marie Clemens or email her at email@example.com