Air Force chief of staff calls, selects Airman for commission

  • Published
  • By Joseph Mather
  • Robins Public Affairs

It’s not often an Airman personally gets a call from the Air Force chief of staff.

Senior Airman Christopher Chavez, 12th Airborne Command and Control Squadron airborne operations technician, with the 461st Air Control Wing, has been hand selected by Gen. Charles Q.  Brown Jr., Air Force chief of staff, to the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program.

SLECP is a commissioning program which enables senior leaders to directly select enlisted members to commission through Officer Training School.

“When the SLECP program came down, I thought of Airman Chavez,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Helms, 12th ACCS chief enlisted manager. “So I called his operations chief, and he agreed.”

“We received a phone call informing us Airman Chavez was selected and would receive a call from the Air Force chief of staff,” said Helms. “So we came up with a plan to put him in the right place for the call.”

Chavez was asked to monitor the phones in his unit’s office late in the afternoon.

“I answered the phone and it sounded like the Air Force chief of staff,” he said. “I did not want to say it was the chief of staff and be wrong, so I said, ‘Sir, may I ask who is calling?’ And in fact it was the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown, and he said he had selected me for the SLECP.”

Chavez said the phone call was incredible.

“It was the most exhilarating phone call of my life,” he said. “It is an amazing opportunity. I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about it.”

Col. Ed Goebel, 461st ACW commander, said the achievement represents the first step for enlisted personnel to become an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

“Senior Airman Chris Chavez is an outstanding Airman who embodies the Air Force’s core values and is deserving of being selected by the Air Force chief of staff for this great opportunity,” he said. “His work ethic, impeccable character and exemplary record was recognized at the highest levels in our Air Force. I have no doubt that he will excel in OTS and in this next chapter of his life.”

Chavez said he is ready for what the future holds.

“I am deeply humbled and grateful to be selected by the Air Force chief of staff,” he said. “My wife and I have a daughter on the way, and I want to give her each and every opportunity.”