By Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer, 42nd ABW Public Affairs
/ Published April 25, 2017
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, presents Senior Master Sgt. Duane Caudill, 302nd Maintenance Group career advisor, with the 500,000th Community College of the Air Force degree, April 21, 2017, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The Community College of the Air Force commandant, Lt. Col. Nathan J. Leap, and Chief Master Sgt. Vicki Robertson, 302 Airlift Wing Command Chief, also participated in the historic presentation. (US Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)
Lt. Col. Nathan Leap, Community College of the Air Force Commandant, presents Senior Master Sgt. Duane Caudill, 302nd Maintenance Group career advisor, with his CCAF degree on Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., April 21, 2017. Caudill is the 500,000th graduate of the CCAF. It only took Caudill six months to complete the final steps of reaching his goals and obtaining his CCAF degree. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer)
Members of the Community College of the Air Force stand with the 500,000th CCAF graduate on Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., April 21, 2017. Senior Master Sgt. Duane Caudill graduated as the 500,000th graduate in November 2016, marking a historical event for the CCAF since opening its doors in 1972. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer)
During the 2017 Senior Enlisted Leadership Summit, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright recognized Senior MSgt. Duane Caudill as the Community College of the Air Force’s 500,000th degree recipient.
Caudill is an Air Force reservist with the 302nd Maintenance Group at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., as a career advisor.
Last year, Caudill dedicated himself to completing his associate degree. He was able to complete his remaining requirements in about six months, all while he was working as a parole officer for the state of Colorado.
“I would start work from 7 in the morning until 5:30 in the afternoon,” Caudill said. “I would make dinner for me and my wife then sit down in front of the computer at 6:30 to about midnight or 1 in the morning just doing my classwork.”
All his hard work paid off and he made history all while doing it.
“This is extremely monumental just taking into account that we are the largest community college in the world,” said Chief Master Sgt. Rye Bavin, CCAF Vice Commandant. “Since opening our doors in 1972, we are so proud to say that we have helped so many Airmen achieve their educational goals.”
Caudill just happened to be that 500,000th CCAF degree recipient.
“In all honesty this just boggles my mind,” Caudill said.
Wright also commented on this historical occasion.
“It is great to be able to recognize such a milestone for both the CCAF and Senior Master Sgt. Caudill,” Wright said. “The fact that his graduation coincided with the 2017 Senior Enlisted Leader Summit was perfect, because we were able to recognize this milestone in front of almost 350 of our total force senior enlisted leaders.”
The CCAF provides Airmen an opportunity to be better at their jobs within the Air Force, and to make them more competitive once they leave the military service.
“The CCAF is designed to be able to translate what these Airmen learned in the Air Force into the civilian workforce,” Bavin said. “Polls show that when Airmen join the Air Force, a common driving motivator is they wanted to pursue education. CCAF delivers an avenue for this pursuit.”
The 500,000th degree recipient added some words of wisdom for those who may not have or are in the process of getting a degree through the CCAF.
“If you keep putting off getting your degree, you’re not going to get it,” Caudill said. “It’s something you have to be motivated to do, and self-disciplined, because there’s excuses for everything, but you just need to work at it, and buckle down and do it. Once you get it done, it’s a huge accomplishment.”