Command Sgt. Maj. Richard F. Campbell, Salem, N.H., native and command sergeant major of 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, is scheduled to earn his associate degree in applied science from Excelsior College on May 17 at the Al Faw Palace, Baghdad.
After 92 credits and 5 years of taking classes, Campbell decided to finish his associate's degree during his 12-month deployment to Camp Victory, Baghdad.
Campbell said he wishes more Soldiers would take advantage of the education opportunities that the Army offers.
"If the old guy can do it, then so can everyone else!" said Campbell.
Lisa Brooks a psychology instructor with the University Maryland University College in Iraq has seen many students further their education by taking various courses ranging from an Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery improvement class to a Basic English class.
"I hope service members realize it's possible for them to earn a degree," said Lisa Brooks. "It may take service members longer to earn a degree than most people at home, but they can do it."
The Education Center enables Soldiers to take online courses and offers core classes such as English to take in a classroom setting.
"It's not like normal colleges, we have about 15 students per class," said Brooks. "The one on one contact available to students provides personal interaction and builds camaraderie. I think many students are more focused when taking classes here. They don't have all the distractions of home here."
Even after working 16 to 18 hour days, Campbell finds the time to work on his education.
"It leads to promotion opportunities within the military structure and increases your marketability in the civilian sector," said Campbell. "It affords your employer a well-rounded employee and speaks volumes about the Armed Services."
The graduation encompasses around 50 service members graduating from classes at 10 different schools.
"Watching these students graduate is the greatest feeling ever," said Brooks. "I feel like a proud parent. So many have issues going on at home, but they push forward and finally they have achieved this monumental moment. "
Campbell is continuing his education and working on finishing his bachelor's degree during the rest of his deployment.