Airmen use 3 different methods to earn possible commissions

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- The Air Force offers a variety of options for enlisted Airmen to become officers.  Three 96th Test Wing Airmen used those options for an opportunity to join the officer ranks through three separate commissioning paths.

One of them can gain a commission while going to college full time through the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program -A.

Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Foster, 96th TW command chief executive, found out about her selection for the program from Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Geraghty, 96th TW commander. She said Geraghty walked into the office just like any other day and announced her selection. 

“Instantly my eyes filled with tears. I could not believe what he was telling me," said the Pittsburgh native.

SLECP-A selects one enlisted member per major command and 17 globally to stay on active duty but attend a school of their choice as a full-time student. The member retains all active duty pay and benefits at their current rank.

Foster said she wants to be in a position where she can help assist Airmen achieve their goals.  

“In order for me to help, I had to take the leap of faith and potentially commission,” said the 12-year veteran who comes from a military family.  “To know that I was looked at as worthy enough to lead Airmen in this new capacity is such an honor.”

An aircraft maintainer earned his chance for a commission using another option called the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program.   

Staff Sgt. Nathan Sawrie, 96th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, found out he made it through a conference call with (at the time) Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Allvin, and 96th TW and other leadership, while on deployment to Qatar.

“My reaction was relief and excitement,” said the Hot Springs, Arkansas native.  “I felt honored to be selected.”

SLECP-O allows Air Force leaders to directly select outstanding enlisted Airmen for an opportunity to become commissioned officers. 

“I’m eager to use the experiences I’ve gained within my life and military career in the officer corps,” said Sawrie, who joined the Air Force in 2018 to commission and become a pilot.  “I’m excited to learn and be mentored by great leaders and start making positive impacts on a broader scale.”

Finally, Tech. Sgt. Joseph Vanhulle, 96th Force Support Squadron, armed with a bachelor’s degree in business analytics, successfully applied for a commission to Officer Training School.

The Richmond, Michigan native said he was “in complete shock” when Geraghty announced his selection at a recent Airman Leadership School graduation.

“I was pulled up on stage and it was a very emotional moment for me,” said Vanhulle, who joined the Air Force in 2012.  “This is by far, one of the greatest accomplishments of my career.”

Vanhulle said he sought the increased responsibility following a year-long Iraq deployment as an air advisor.  He begins OTS in February 2024.  

For more information and guidance on applying for commissioning programs, call the Education Center 882-8141.