January 26, 2004
Guard helps soldier earn Masters degree
Sgt. William Fearrington
Higher education is a key component to better one's self in today's society. Master Sgt. Carl A. Holcomb of the Inspector General's office at Fort Pickett can attest to that. In two years he finished his master's in business administration at Averett University in Danville, Virginia, and the Virginia Army National Guard helped him get to where he is today.
“The Virginia Guard helped me pay for it all,” said Holcomb. He has been in the Virginia Army National Guard for 21 years and has been working full time for the Inspector General's office for 4 years where he handles legal and/or ethical issues for Army National Guard soldiers. “As an active duty soldier for Virginia Army National Guard, I was able to take advantage of the federal tuition assistance to help me pay for some of my tuition and school fees,” he said. The Virginia Guard pays up to 75% of the tuition cost not to exceed the annual cap designated each year for undergraduate and graduate studies.
“My command worked with me while I pursued my degree,” said Holcomb. “I went to school one night a week from 1800 to 2200 and had a study group on weekends,” he said. I started in November of 2001 and finished in December of 2003.
Holcomb had company on his journey to complete is degree. His wife Margie was also going to school with him to complete her master's in business administration too. “She was a little reserved since she had not gone to school in a while but she later enjoyed going back to school,” said Holcomb. “I am glad she was with me while I was there,” he said. He also shares with his wife three daughters' Carla 29, Essica 23, and Shonte16 whom supported both parents pursuing their master's degrees.
With the degree and an idea, Holcomb plans to give back to the community by helping the youth of today. “When I worked with the Department of Corrections, I worked with the youth that were locked up and saw how I made a positive impact on their lives so I want to do something,” he said. “I want to help give the youth of today direction and strive to do better,” said Holcomb. He would like to do some type of mentorship program with kids and young adults.
To add to Holcomb's accomplishments, he maintained a 4.0 average and received the Pinnacle Award for his high grade point average and also leadership. “If I can inspire anyone to help themselves then I will, Hooah!”