SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
More than 75 Airmen attended a Community College of the Air Force graduation ceremony July 27, 2020 outside Bldg. 210 to celebrate 28 military graduates.
The graduation marked the first time the 50th Force Support Squadron’s Force Development Flight hosted the CCAF graduation.
The CCAF is a program that uses Airmen’s on-the-job training to assist them in obtaining an Associate Degree in Applied Science with traditional educational programs as part of a flexible degree program. Though it doesn’t directly impact an Airman’s ability to rise to senior noncommissioned officer, it’s factored in when promotions are considered.
The CCAF has more than 100 affiliated Air Force technical schools and each year awards more than 22,000 Associate Degrees from 71 programs, according to militarybenefits.info.
Staff Sgt. William Chorpenning, 4th Space Operations Squadron training manager and guest speaker for the event, thanked everyone who made the event possible. Chorpenning also spoke about what the degree symbolizes and the importance of the achievement.
“Throughout your career and your life, it is known, you will face adversity,” he said. “The key to finding the motivation to overcome setbacks is knowing who you are, what you value and what your purpose is. Through this, you’ll find a deeper understanding of the importance of self-importance and achievement.”
Chorpenning also discussed the importance of goals and how they helped him become a better Airman.
“I was that co-worker you probably have who found no enjoyment in their job,” Chorpenning said. “I woke up, came to work, went home and repeated that cycle for almost four years before I began to pursue my original goal of education, which is where I found my meaning. Now, I’m on track to begin my Ph.D. in October of next year.
“I share this story with you to show I’m not the exception to the rule,” he continued. “Regardless of how big or small you think this achievement [graduation] is, it’s important you understand it is a true test of your own willingness to move toward your personal goals.”
Retired Col. Dave Geuting, Lance P. Sijan chapter vice president for Aerospace Education, and James Driscoll, 50th Force Support Squadron Education Center flight chief, presented the William H. Pitsenbarger Award to Senior Airman Bianca Alonzo, 21st Comptroller Squadron financial analyst. Selection is determined at the education office by a committee of individuals appointed by the base education officer.
“The Air Force Association presents the Pitsenbarger Award to deserving enlisted members during each Community College of the Air Force graduation,” Geuting said. “The committee considers job performance, scholastic achievement, education goals and leadership qualities. The Lance Sijan Chapter of the AFA provides a $100 monetary award to the local selectee.”
Chief Master Sgt. Boston Alexander, Peterson-Schriever Garrison command chief, followed the presentation of the Pitsenbarger Award and discussed how graduates should lead by example.
“You’ve invested in yourselves and, subsequently, by doing so you have validated our force,” Alexander said. “You have an obligation now to ensure those inside your silos do the same. Those who learn must teach, those who climb must both lead and follow.”
Col. Soleiman Rahel, Peterson-Schriever Garrison individual mobilization augmentee to the commander, wrapped up the ceremony by illustrating to graduates how their degrees represent more than an achievement of the moment.
“You’re now ambassadors of higher education, but I urge you not to stop there,” Rahel said. “Let this be the beginning of something great. Continue to pursue excellence in all you do. Don’t just let this be a degree. Use the tools you’ve learned here throughout your whole life.”
Community College of the Air Force graduates
1st Space Operations Squadron
Staff Sgt. Kyle Weyand, Information Systems Technology
Staff Sgt. Cherrise Streaty, Air and Space Operations Technology
17th Test Squadron
Tech Sgt. Jose Vargas, Air and Space Operations Technology
21st Comptroller Squadron
Senior Airman Bianca Alonzo, Financial Management
25th Space Range Squadron
Tech Sgt. Ryan Seamster, Electronic Systems Technology
50th Civil Engineer Squadron
Tech Sgt. James Guardiano, Maintenance Production Management
Staff Sgt. Shayne Brooks, Maintenance Production Management
50th Security Forces Squadron
Master Sgt. James Hunt, Human Resource Management
Tech Sgt. Joel Brooks, Criminal Justice
Staff Sgt. Manuel Gonzalez, Criminal Justice
Tech Sgt. Nicholas Burdick, Criminal Justice
Tech Sgt. Nicholas Jenich, Criminal Justice
Tech Sgt. Michael Jones, Criminal Justice
Staff Sgt. Xavier Cordova, Criminal Justice
50th Space Communications Squadron
Senior Airman Chase Didricksen, Information Systems Technology
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Meade, Information Systems Technology
527th Space Aggressors Squadron
Staff Sgt. Dustin King, Information Systems Technology
Senior Airman Cassidy Basney, Intelligence Studies and Technology
Senior Airman Christopher Baker, Air and Space Operations Technology
Senior Airman Devin Harlow, Air and Space Operations Technology
Staff Sgt. Eric Leishman, Electronic Systems Technology
Staff Sgt. George Juarez, Electronic Systems Technology
Senior Airman Justin Perry, Air and Space Operations Technology
Senior Airman Robert Donkel, Electronic Systems Technology
National Space Defense Center
Tech Sgt. Herbert McDonald, Intelligence Studies and Technology
533rd Training Squadron
Second Lt. Tanner Bush, Air and Space Operations Technology
Schriever Inspector General
Staff Sgt. John Harrison, Air and Space Operations Technology
United States Army Special Operations Command
(Army) Sgt. Kevin Cruz, Criminal Justice