News: Soldiers use education benefits
Story by Sgt. Sarah Enos
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — For two soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., enrolling in college means more than dormitory rooms and class lectures. Continuing their education will give them an opportunity to enhance their personal and professional self-development goals.
Spc. Dave Davidson, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter repairer, B Company, 46th Aviation Support Battalion, and Pfc. Mitchell Dick, a shower, laundry and clothing repair specialist, 295th Quartermaster Company, recently attended an introduction to GoArmyEd at the Hawk Education Center.
GoArmyEd is a virtual portal that allows soldiers to manage their education records and request financial assistance for education classes.
The Army Continuing Education System offers a wide range of opportunities for soldiers to achieve their education potential. With the help of counselors, soldiers are assisted in achieving a certificate or degree, provided job readiness workshops and offered academic and vocational testing.
Although the Army grants financial assistance for eligible soldiers, it can be difficult to balance a full-time work schedule and school.
Davidson, a native of Winlock, Wash., said he tried to go to college when he was stationed with an assault helicopter battalion, but he said his job was hectic as a crew chief.
“My job required me to fly all the time so I barely had down time,” Davidson said.
Now that Davidson is currently working with an aviation support battalion, he said he has more time to do his job and take college courses.
Earning a degree was also on Dick’s mind. The Kansas City, Mo., native said he worked at three different jobs with very low pay before joining the Army.
“After working in public safety for five years I realized I would not see career progression without continuing my education,” Dick said.
Both students plan to attend military friendly schools that offer distance learning online to make it easier to complete a degree, even after transferring posts or during a deployment.
“Taking college courses will allow me to advance in my career because semester hours equal promotion points in the Army,” Davidson said. “It will also allow me to be more eloquent in the way I present myself to others in the community or to my job.”
With the end of his enlistment in mind, Dick is setting out to complete an associate’s degree at Kaplan University in criminal justice to achieve his ultimate goal of earning more pay in his future career.
Davidson dreams of following in the footsteps of Family members and becoming a fireman by pursuing an associate’s degree in fire protection at Central Texas College.
“The education will allow me to become a firefighter when I transition out of the Army,” Davidson said. “It’s sort of a legacy, my grandfather and dad were part of the Cowlitz Institute Fire and Rescue in Kelso, Wash. and I ultimately want to work for them too.”
“I’ve seen the amount of respect a firefighter gets. It’s an honorable career and that’s also why I joined the Army,” Davidson added.
The ACES program supports the enlistment, retention, and transition for soldiers who have the ambition to further their education.
soldiers can find out more information at Hawk Education Center located in building 11577 on JBLM-North (253) 477-4746, Stone Education Center located in building 6242 (253) 967-7174 and McChord Field Education located in building 851 (253) 982-9900.