WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – In June, Staff Sgts Cameron Gomula and spouse Khrysta Gomula, received their associate’s degrees from the Community College of the Air Force, taking their first steps together in their journey to further their education.
Cameron, originally from Streetsboro, Ohio, and Khrysta, from Corbin, Kentucky, both joined the Air Force as an opportunity to pursue their career, travel the world, and to receive an education debt free.
“Both of us saw our degrees as a stepping stone in our careers both in the Air Force and in the civilian sector after our Air Force careers,” said Khrysta.
Both assigned to the 88th Communications Squadron, Cameron is a quality assurance inspector evaluating the core functions of quality assurance across the squadron. Khrysta is a cybersecurity technician supervisor but is temporarily assigned as the Air Force Materiel Command’s protocol NCO.
“Our military careers and experiences are emphasized with our CCAF so we are able to get credit for our job experience and training that is unusual outside of the Air Force,” said Cameron. “It allows us to be able to communicate and show that experience that would otherwise be lost.”
The CCAF allows Airmen to work toward an associate’s degree in applied science in one of five career fields; aircraft and missile maintenance, electronics and telecommunications, allied health, logistics and resource or public and support services. As soon as Airmen begin basic training, they begin earning credits toward a college degree by learning and doing their job.
Striving to further their education while both working full time jobs along with raising their two daughters, seven-year-old Rhaynnon and one-year old Olivia, it definitely has its challenges but they are committed to supporting each other.
“Since we are both in school, we understand the workload and what has to be dedicated to complete our classes,” said Cameron. “We’re both very self-motivated, but on the occasions that we start feeling overwhelmed and need to focus on just school work, we pick up taking care of the house and kids to allow the other less stress and more time to focus on the class itself.”
“For us our motivation of each other is just to go back to those serious conversations about what we want in the future and what we need to do to get there,” Khrysta said. “We support one another with just sacrificing our own time so the other can have time to do what they need to. Cameron is an early morning person so he is always up at 4 a.m. to make time in for his goals. I am the opposite so I end up staying up late in order to do night classes. We are always respectful and communicate our schedules and pick up the slack so the other can prioritize themselves.”
The Gomulas both received their associate’s degrees in Information Systems Technology and are now pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
Khrysta plans to make Tech Sgt. within the next few years and wants to continue to teach cybersecurity and aspires to be an instructor. Cameron also strives to make Tech Sgt. and hopes to work for a major command inspector general’s office.
Both plan to be career Air Force and while they are in they are going to take advantage of all the education opportunities so they will have it under their belt when they retire and encourage their fellow Airmen to do the same and utilize those opportunities to the fullest.
“Prioritize yourself and your schooling,” said Khrysta. “If you are like me and you don’t know what you want to do with your career, focus on your CCAF first. As you get further into your career and start having a family it gets a lot harder to make time for your schooling and a lot of folks back burner it until they are on the cusp of retirement. I don’t say that as an excuse but to say this always remind yourself of your goals and your dreams and put it as a priority; put yourself as a priority.”
“The Air Force is literally giving you free money to go to school, and recent changes to promotion rules have made it so even if you don’t want your CCAF degree, you can get an associates with absolutely no debt and still further your career,” said Cameron.
After their Air Force careers, both plan to use their education they gained to their advantage.
“My retirement plan is to be an informations system security manager for a large network,” said Khrysta. “Something where I can use the experiences, I have learned working in the Air Force.”
Cameron is still weighing his options and would like to either pursue a job in information technology or something fitness-related such as competing or owning a gym.
“I’m still up in the air but my plans are to accomplish as many certifications and degrees that will improve my skillset for the Air Force so as to help make my decision on the future path I wish to take,” said Cameron.
Regardless what career fields they end up in, both Cameron and Khrysta agreed and said “The more education you have, the better you are equipped to handle anything that comes your way.”