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132d Wing leads through education second year in a row

132d Wing Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) degree recipients pose for a photo during the 2016 end of year awards November 5, 2016, at the Des Moines Air Base, Iowa. The 132d Wing has been number one in CCAF degrees in the entire Air National Guard the past two years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael. J. Kelly)

132d Wing Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) degree recipients pose for a photo during the 2016 end of year awards November 5, 2016, at the Des Moines Air Base, Iowa. The 132d Wing has been number one in CCAF degrees in the entire Air National Guard the past two years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael. J. Kelly)

132d Wing, Iowa Air National Guard (July 28, 2017) -- Education has increasingly become more important to the 132d Wing, which was evident last year when the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) released the 2015 rankings of about 90 Air National Guard (ANG) units. The 132d Wing was number one in CCAF’s awarded and the 185th Air Refueling Wing of Sioux City, Iowa was second.

The CCAF awards an associate in applied science degrees from 68 degree programs where they partner with more than 1,500 civilian academic institutions to serve approximately 300,000 active duty, guardsmen and reservists.

When the rankings for 2016 were released in June 2017, the 132d Wing was once again number one of all the ANG units. The 132d Wing had a total of 108 degrees awarded out of the 488 non-degree holding population.

Senior Master Sgt. Gary L. Burch, Force Development Superintendent, said the CCAF can be earned in many ways including community college, online courses, taking a College Level Examination Placement (CLEP) test or simply updating academic records.

“Our members are motivated and doing a lot of work to get their last class or two completed, whether it be through community college, online or even the CLEP test,” said Burch.

Of the Total Force, which includes active duty, guardsmen and reservists, the 132d Wing was in the top three percent. This was also based on percentage of graduates to the non-degree holding population. The other top two were the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Headquarters at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. and Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

For the members who may not need to attend school, the 132d Wing will occasionally hold a CLEP-a-thon. The CLEP test allows members to receive credit for subjects they may already know, without having to take a course.

“We had 23 that participated in the event this year, and 15 of the 23 passed, so a 65 percent pass rate,” said Burch. “Which that is better than the Department of Defense’s average for the last four years which was 57 percent.”

Burch said that he has noticed a change within the last few years of Airmen willing to go above and beyond what is required of them to receive their CCAF.

“I also think it has a lot to do with the leadership, at all levels, consistently informing Airmen about what assistance and opportunities are available to them,” said Burch.

While 108 CCAF degrees may seem hard to beat, Burch said that he is confident the 132nd Wing will take the top place once again for 2017, having already reported about 120 CCAF degrees.