Sailors, Airmen honored during graduation

Graduates listen to the guest speaker’s address during the Military College Graduation Recognition Ceremony at the Historic Hickam Officer’s Club, Oct. 27.

Story and photo by David D. Underwood

Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam Public Affairs

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) hosted the 2017 Military College Graduation Recognition Ceremony, Oct. 27, at the Historic Hickam Officer’s Club lanai.

More than 40 Airmen and Sailors were honored for completing their associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degrees while simultaneously balancing work and family obligations.

Families, friends, supervisors, mentors and commanders were all in attendance to show support and recognition for all the graduates.

Retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. David R. Stil-well, director, China Strategic Focus Group, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, and Capt. Jeff Bernard, commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, were guest speakers and presented the certificates.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI 2nd District) was unable to attend but sent a video presentation congratulating the graduates.

“I’m so proud of each and every one of you who are being honored today,” Gabbard said.

“I know you’ve made many sacrifices as you’ve balanced your active duty service while pursuing your higher education goals. So today we all celebrate your hard work, dedication and impressive achievements.”

She also mentioned how she remembers continuing her studies during her first deployment to Iraq, studying and taking online exams in a tent. And although she was unable to wear a cap and gown with her classmates on graduation day, she was proud to have earned her degree during her deployment.

There were 27 educational institutions represented and various degrees received — intelligence studies, organizational management, general studies, liberal arts, psychology and nuclear engineering technology, just to name a few. And the graduates were both officers and enlisted.

Staff Sgt. Katrina B. Santiago, a language analyst with the 324th Intelligence Squadron, earned her bachelor’s degree in Chinese.

Bernard congratulated the graduates on their pursuit of advanced education. He said that education is a key asset to be used to market yourself.

“It demonstrates to a future employer, selection board that you understand how to follow through on a commitment,” he said. “You understand what dedication to a goal means. And that says a great deal about you and your motivation.”

Stilwell also told the students that they now have something that not only says they are an expert, but it also says what kind of person they are, able to stick with something. That in itself speaks volumes, he said.

Gabbard acknowledged that it’s a challenge to focus on being a student while also serving full time, and that it requires discipline, sacrifice and commitment, but it’s possible and so worth it.

“You’re also helping to ensure that our military continues to be the most professional, technologically advanced military in the world,” Gabbard said. “No matter how great our equipment, intel or weapons systems are, you are the most integral part of what makes our military great. You’re essential to our achieving mission success.”

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS

Category: News