SOUTHWEST ASIA — For many Airmen, being deployed to Southwest Asia can quickly become an endless cycle of working, eating and sleeping, forcing them to become creative in the ways they choose to spend their free time.
The 386th Expeditionary Forces Support Squadron Education Center aims to help these Airmen use this time to further their military and civilian education.
These resources are important for deployed Airmen so they won’t have to put their careers on hold while deployed, said Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Hudson, 386th EFSS education superintendent, deployed from the 507th Air Refueling Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Enrollment in professional military education and career development courses don’t always cease for a deployment.
For example, officer boards still continue even though people are deployed, so the Armed Forces Classification Test, a test used in the selection process for Officer Candidate School, is important to provide access for people who are striving for a commission, Hudson said.
Therefore, the Education Center provides a wide variety of testing and resource opportunities for Airmen working toward continuing their professional development. These include:
The Armed Forces Qualification Test
Test used to determine an applicant’s aptness for the military, service members can take this to try and increase their Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score.
Defense Language Aptitude Battery
The test used to examine an individual’s potential for learning a foreign language.
Defense Language Proficiency Test
Test which measures the general language ability of native English speakers.
College Level Examination Program
Allows students to demonstrate their mastery of introductory college-level material and earn college credit.
Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support
A system which helps service members and veterans pursue their education goals.
“I think it’s important to give the service members an opportunity to advance in their careers, not only in their PME and CDCS but, on the flipside, the Education Center also has the University of Maryland,” Hudson said. “They are here to provide on-site [college] courses for members and help give the CLEP and DANTES tests so people can get through their Community College of the Air Force associate degree.”
The Education Center works hand-in-hand with the installation Learning Resource Center to ensure all members’ needs are being met, said Tech. Sgt. Andrea Grabner, 386th EFSS test control officer, deployed from the Michigan Air National Guard, 127th Wing, Selfridge, Michigan. The learning center has a wide range of educational and entertainment resources including novels, DVDs, audio books and study materials for CLEP and DANTES testing.
“People set goals for deployments and often times one of those goals is to get their CCAF,” said Senior Airman Nameri Content, 386th EFSS LRC manager, deployed from the 442nd Force Support Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Missouri. “Often [Airmen] don’t know what is needed for their CCAF, so I will send them over to the Education Center and she will give them a list of what books they need and send [the Airmen] back to me.”
Grabner said the biggest thing a person can do to set themselves up for success is to plan on pursuing their education prior to arriving at their deployed location. She advises students to get their tuition assistance approved prior to deploying.