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Major Earns Master's

Photo courtesy of Maj. Denis Paquette

While the country prepares to celebrate Veterans Day this Sunday, it’s nice to know how the nation’s active duty military personnel are doing.

One Air Force major and SDSU student recently earned his Master’s Degree – an even bigger accomplishment than you might think, considering the circumstances.

Completing graduate courses takes a lot of work under any conditions - and especially if you’re in the middle of a war.

But that’s exactly what Air Force Major Denis Paquette did while deployed to Afghanistan last summer.

With assistance from the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, Paquette was able to finish his required courses on-line. He passed his oral exam upon his return home this Fall.

Paquette says concentrating in a combat zone was a challenge.

“You hear about things that happen in the country and you wonder, ‘Well, could that happen here?” Paquette recalls. “You’re always kind of looking around and paying attention. That was my experience. I was never overly concerned or worried. But, you know, obviously I heard about and knew that our guys and gals over there were constantly in tough situations.”

Asked what advice he has for other service members, Paquette says focus on little things – not the enormous task ahead. His motto is “yard by yard, life is hard; inch by inch, life’s a cinch.”