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Fort Bragg Soldiers Battle to Get Their College Degrees

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FORT BRAGG — Getting an education in the military is tough, but the graduates say it is worth it.

As family and friends watched Wednesday, more than 200Fort Braggsoldiers and civilian federal employees got what they worked so hard for, their college degrees.

Yolanda Longstreet, a single mom, walked away with a degree from Webster University. It was a long, hard road.

"I had no extra time," she said. "You make the commitment and just go for it." Longstreet is not done yet. She plans to continue her studies and earn a PhD.

Command Sgt. Maj. David Henderson retired this week after 26 years in the Army. Wednesday's recognition by the top brass ended 10 years of dedication.

"There's been many times when I've rolled in from the field, wiped the camouflage off my face, went to my class, came back, put the camouflage back on and went back to the field," Henderson said.

Working college into the busy career of a paratrooper, Henderson began study at Fayetteville State University.

"I ended up with a 4.0 average, dean's list, everything I could because the military taught me the discipline," he said.

Henderson also put technology to work toward his degree at Fort Bragg's Academic Learning Center.

"I surfed the Web. I got every bit of information I needed. It was absolutely fantastic," he said.

Henderson says completing his degree took more than commitment on his part.

"It was the sacrifice of my family, my friends and my chain of command that allowed me to be able to do this," he said.

Henderson hopes to teach history at a middle school.

This year's graduating class is 25 percent larger than last year's. Ten colleges and universities offer degrees through Fort Bragg's Education Services Division.