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Airman recognized during CCAF historical event

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)

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)

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)

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)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

During the 2017 Senior Enlisted Leadership Summit, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright recognized Senior Master Sgt. Duane Caudill as the Community College of the Air Force’s 500,000th graduate.

Caudill is an Air Force reservist with the 302nd Maintenance Group at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, as a career advisor.

Last year, Caudill dedicated himself to completing his associate’s 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 7:00 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 1:00 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 Air Force,” 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 500,000 Airmen obtain their CCAF degrees.”

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. “We took polls from Airmen and asked why they joined the Air Force, and the one thing that would come up every single time, and that would be that they wanted a better life for themselves and their families. American history shows us that a better life for yourself and your family is through education. That is the whole role the CCAF has, is to better the life of these Airmen.”

The 500,000th graduate 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.”

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