As others, and yourself, have stated, a degree is key for many fields. Your situation is unusual, in that your company "looked the other way," but a degree is absolutely required for many fields, if for no other reason to get a foot in the door. Your experience would likely be different at another company or if you attempted to change jobs nor can an individual be licensed as a Professional Engineer without a 4 year degree. (In short, your example is generally not duplicatable by others).
Experience is always better then a degree.
But I would still finish the degree at UOP and find a place that wont discriminate your schooling and get your foot in the door to get that experience that really means something.
I do not have a degree, but I have ton a college classes under my belt. All technical stuff. Didn't think a degree was necessary for me.
I completely agree, however, that nothing is a better teacher than on the job experience, provided one has enough educational background to understand the concepts. That being said, there are plenty of professions (e.g., medicine, nursing, law, engineering, CPA, etc.) that 100% require a degree or certification. There IS a disturbing trend that college is used as delayed development with no consideration of the costs, future career, or if earning potential justifies the expenditure. On average, does compensation increase with increasing education? You bet. Should more individuals consider if a degree is needed given an individual's career goals? Yes again.