By now most of you have seen and/or heard Senator John Kerry's remarks he made on Oct. 30 while campaigning in California for gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.

During his speech he said, "Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.''

I expect that an apology is forthcoming if not already released. But we all know that the original statement is what is remembered. I feel somewhat of an obligation to defend my service. I for one, am currently pursuing my third college degree. A lot of people have this idea in their head that you can either join the military or go to college. The fact is though, that you can do both. Here's some facts.

· Nearly 80 percent of all Air Force enlistees scored in the top 50th percentile of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test in fiscal year 2006, a number that has remained above 75 percent since FY 2000.

· Every single Air Force member enters the service with a high-school education or equivalent (GED or homeschooling).

· In fiscal year 2006, more than 15 percent of all enlistees entered the Air Force with more than a year of college credits - nearly a 30-percent increase from fiscal year 2001. Additionally, nearly 5 percent of all enlisted members possess a bachelor's degree or above and another 16 percent have associatese's degree. All officers have earned a minimum of a bachelor's degree and nearly 50 percent possess a master's degree or above.

· The #1 reason trainees cited for enlisting in the Air Force last year was to "continue college education on active duty." For the past six years, education benefits have remained one of the top three reasons named for enlisting in the Air Force.

· The Air Force has exceptionally high-quality technical schools and training programs for its 142 career specialties. Upon enlistment, Airmen are automatically enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force - the largest accredited community college in the world - and they start to earn college credits towarassociatesate's degree from the basic military training and technical school instruction they receive.

The Air Force, along with all branches of the military, cares about education. Period. We are educated, we are knowledgeable, we are professionals. We are here on purpose, not as a lack of options. We made the cut. As a recruiter I turn away more people than I enlist. Because they don't qualify. It's hard to get in the military. And remember that it is a volunteer force. So when you hear those kinds of disrespectful statements, check the facts. And next Friday/Saturday, honor a Veteran. They are more accomplished than you know.

p.s. More good education stats on "El Capitan's" blog, linked here
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