Earning a degree benefits you, Air Force

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Last week, I talked with you about the vital importance of a sound and lasting physical fitness program.

Today, I want to talk to you about the importance of exercising something else, your brain.

One of your most valuable benefits is the unbelievable education package all Airmen receive.

Through the Air Force Tuition Assistance Program, all Airmen are eligible for up to $4,500 per year in tuition and fees for college courses. And these aren't loans. The Air Force gives you that money to earn your degree or one certification/licensure. It's kind of a "your time and our dime" sort of thing.

They do this because the Air Force and other branches of military service know and understand the value-added benefits that earning a degree can bring in the long run, both personally and professionally.

And you don't even have to go off-base to get started on this educational experience. We have three schools (Columbia College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Webster University) at the Education Center right here on Patrick that can meet your needs, whether you want to earn your first college credit, or finish a Master's Degree.

And I am happy to say that there are a good number of Airmen assigned here who know, understand, and take advantage of this benefit. For them, good things are just around the corner.

Earning that degree shows great personal commitment and dedication, something the Air Force takes very seriously.

The world is changing. We need to have an educated force that is capable of dealing with those changes.

That old mantra of "that's the way we've always done things around here" is a thing of the past. We need sharp, intelligent, educated Airmen to meet the demanding challenges we face today and will surely face in the future.

I ask that all commanders, leaders, supervisors and Wingmen encourage all Airmen to take advantage of the educational opportunities that lay in front of them. Today.

Like any journey, this too starts with the first step. And it's up to you to take it.

And make it a habit. Go Sharks!