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Education Success Stories

SSG James CoffeySSG James Coffey
How to Finish Two Semesters of College in Seven Days

The WV Army National Guard Education Services Office provides many educational opportunities to soldiers to include college and career counseling, certification testing, scholarship information, tuition assistance, GI Bill information, bonuses, and loan repayments . In addition, the Education services Office provides college level testing to all branches of the military and their spouses. There are 323 college hours for which tests are available. This story is an example of how a service member has successfully utilized these benefits.

James Coffey was born to American parents in Nurnburg Germany . His father was in an armored unit based in Erlangen and had previously spent two tours of duty in Vietnam . When he was 3 or 4 years old his mom and sister brought him back to WV. After his parents divorce, James' mom remarried a soldier who took James' family to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Bliss , Fort Ord , and Fort "Lost in the Woods".

James said, "Hey the Army is in my blood" and showed this to be true when he entered active duty 18 days after he graduated high school. After 4 months at the Field Artillery Training Center at Fort Sill he went to Fort Campbell . Two months later he was at Camp Eagle II Saudi Arabia serving with the distinguished 101 st Airborne Division (Air Assault). After taking part in the largest Air Assault Operation in history he returned unscathed to Ft Campbell.

SSG Coffey started a new career with the US Postal Service eleven years ago and joined the West Virginia Army National Guard in 1997. He has served with HHB 1-201FA and now with HHT 1-150ARS. The last activation that he took part in was OIF II with 1-150 and attached to 30 th ESB, along with the 1 st ID.

SSG Coffey attended 2 semesters at Southern West Virginia Community College and also attended West Virginia State University . He had originally planned to pursue Forensic Science, but had found that he earned more as a Letter Carrier than most CSI types. A Regents B.A. became the plan to finish his bachelors degree. SSG Coffey contacted the Education Services Office and signed up for all the DSST, CLEP, and Excelsior examinations that he needed to accomplish this goal.

SSG Coffey completed nearly 30 hours worth of exams in only 7 days of actual testing. He finished his degree on July 10. These exams were absolutely free; the Education Services Office also provides free study guides and other information regarding testing opportunities on their website at www.wv.ngb.army.mil/education. SSG Coffey now intends to apply for a direct commission. He modestly states, "I did not do this on my own. SSG Coffey credits his achievements to faith in God and the love of his wife Melanie and that of his children.

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