Education vital to better future

  • Published
  • By Col. Shane Hershman
  • 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander
Today, I have the honor of presenting military and civilian graduates from several colleges, local and national, including the Community College of the Air Force, their diplomas.

The diplomas are more than pieces of paper; they are symbols of months and years of hard work and dedication in the pursuit of excellence. 

From the day each Airman enters the Air Force to the day he or she retires or separates, Airmen are not only encouraged, but also required to continue their education.

From basic training to technical training and career development courses, the Air Force places a great emphasis on the importance of educating its Airmen about how to do their jobs.

 It's obvious why the Air Force would want to train its people to do their jobs -- if an Airman doesn't know how to do his or her job, he or she can't be very productive, so ultimately, the Air Force benefits from training its Airmen. 

However, beyond simply training, the Air Force also strongly encourages Airmen of all ages and ranks to continue their schooling outside of the Air Force. 

Nomination forms for quarterly and annual awards require supervisors to show their Airmen's dedication to improving themselves academically, and from time to time, academic degrees have been a requirement for promotion to certain ranks. 

Why does the Air Force place such an emphasis on education? The answer is because the Airman and the Air Force will benefit from it. 

The Air Force prides itself on being a very technological and skilled armed force.

Not only does the individual benefit from an education, but the Air Force benefits by having a highly educated force that will be prepared to embrace new technology and be able to win our nation's wars. 

The Air Force is a force that invests in our members for the long term, and by providing education opportunities the institution benefits. 

Obtaining an academic degree does not necessarily indicate intelligence, but it does indicate a willingness to work hard and to pursue a goal through its completion. 

These are characteristics any supervisor values and so does the Air Force. 

Like so many skills you will obtain during your Air Force career, an education is for a lifetime. 

Congratulations to all our graduates! Your pursuit of excellence is an inspiration to all of us. I hope you enjoy this day, you've certainly earned it.