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CCAF graduating class sets new Minot record

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The largest graduating class in the history of Minot Air Force Base graduated Friday in a ceremony at the Jimmy Doolittle Center. 

One-hundred and twenty-four graduates received their Community College of the Air Force diplomas from Col. Thomas Klincar, CCAF commandant. 

"As members of CCAF's 2006 fall graduating class, you join the ranks of 245,000 enlisted members who have earned associate degrees in applied science since 1977," Colonel Klincar said in his address to the graduates. 

"Each graduating class here at Minot gets larger than the last," said Brigitte Mikula, Base Education Office CCAF advisor. "There were 60 people in the last graduating class, so we've more than doubled that this time." 

The increasingly large number of graduates is due in part to the education office outreach. "We have a listing of where all Minot AFB personnel are in respect to their CCAF degree," said Ms. Mikula. "If they are within 15 semester hours of their degree, we don't wait for them to come to us, we go to them." 

Some jobs even require a CCAF degree. To be considered for an instructor position at Airman Leadership School, for example, applicants must have at least a CCAF degree. 

Statistics have shown that CCAF graduates have a higher promotion rate than non-graduates, especially at the senior NCO ranks. According to Colonel Klincar, 96 percent of senior master sergeants and 99 percent of chief master sergeants selects have a CCAF degree. 

"Less than 15 percent of people in the U.S. have a bachelor's degree," said Mikula. "With a CCAF, they're halfway there." 

"Not only does a CCAF degree help your career progression, it helps you do your job better," said Lois Nelson, Base Education Office guidance counselor "It's a job-specific associate of applied sciences degree." 

"According to a report published by the Carnegie Foundation, non-monetary individual benefits of higher education include the tendency for postsecondary students to become more open-minded, cultured, rational, consistent and less authoritarian," Colonel Klincar added. 

"There is no excuse for not getting your CCAF degree," said Ms. Nelson. The Base Education Office takes a proactive approach to making sure everyone has a good opportunity to get their CCAF regardless of rank or job, she said. 

"[With a CCAF degree] you're going to go farther, earn higher levels of responsibility, exert greater authority and achieve faster promotions," Colonel Klincar said.
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