914th Command Chief receives honor, credits Air Force education

Chief Master Sgt. Clint Ronan is interviewed by Erie Community College at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, January 9, 2016. Ronan was providing this interview as a recipient of  ECC's 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Mekkri)

Chief Master Sgt. Clint Ronan is interviewed by Erie Community College at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, January 9, 2016. Ronan was providing this interview as a recipient of ECC's 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Mekkri)

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- Chief Master Sgt. Clint Ronan was interviewed by Erie Community College, here, during the January Unit Training Assembly as a recipient of ECC's 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.

"It's a building block," said Ronan, the 914th Airlift Wing Command Chief. "Getting an Associate's Degree enabled me to get my Community College of the Air Force degree."

Pursuing a degree in higher education can be a unique experience for military members. It can come with a variety of challenges such as selecting an institution or using benefits.

"In 2014, 22nd Air Force created a policy stating that members need to obtain his or her CCAF degree in order to be eligible to reach the rank of Senior Master Sgt. or Chief Master Sgt.," said Staff Sgt. Kristina Burke, wing training manager, 914th Force Support Squadron. "If you have questions about your education or benefits, our office can point you in the right direction."

Winning the Distinguished Alumni Award is in line with Air Force Reserve initiatives regarding education, Ronan said.

For many Airmen, like Chief Master Sgt. Ronan, education and learning is something that never stops. Each level creates a foundation for the next.

"Education isn't a piece of paper," said Ronan, the former logistics readiness Squadron Superintendent. "It isn't something that you just put on your wall--It's a lifelong learning process."