SECAF surprises 17th Training Wing Airman with SLECP selection announcement

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jermaine Ayers
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall surprised Staff Sgt. Samuel Cervantez, 17th Civil Engineer Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of plans and operations for the Office of Emergency Management, with the news of selection for the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program, Jan. 11, via zoom conference with 17th Training Wing leadership.

SLECP allows senior leaders to directly grant enlisted members who demonstrate exceptional leadership and performance skills a commissioning opportunity via Officer Training School.

“It was a very close contest, but you did very well and you should be proud of yourself,” said Kendall. “Good luck to you and congratulations again.”

Cervantez was hand-picked by Kendall for the program and was personally congratulated upon notification of his selection. 

During his meeting with Kendall, Cervantez said, “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, it’s an honor, and thank you for choosing me.”

The program Cervantez was selected for allows him to attend college for his bachelor’s degree while staying on active duty orders.

“Staff Sgt. Cervantez has always been an outstanding troop,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Higgins, 17th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. “I think he will do a fantastic job as an officer.”

Cervantez’s main goal is to become an intelligence officer.  He will attend the University of Oklahoma, and major in International Security Studies for the next two years, completing the requirements for his bachelor’s degree.

“I am originally from Tulsa,” said Cervantez. “I chose the University of Oklahoma, so I could have the opportunity to be closer to home and spend more time with family.”

After Cervantez finishes his degree at the University of Oklahoma, he will then go to Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. for Officer Training School.

If selected to be an intelligence officer, his Air Force journey could lead him back to Goodfellow Air Force Base for technical training.

“This opportunity is everything that I have hoped for,” Cervantez said. “I plan on making this a career for the next 20 to 30 years.”