On December 30, 2021, an enlisted Warbird aviator from the 5th Communications Squadron at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, was selected for a prestigious opportunity to join the ranks of Air Force commissioned officers.
Staff Sergeant Theodore Banta, 5th CS NCO in charge of the mission defense team, received a call under the guise of a âWay Aheadâ brief from General Anthony Cotton, Air Force Commander Global Strike Command, on congratulating him on his selection for the Senior Enlisted Officer Commissioning Program.
“I am truly honored and touched to have been selected,” Banta told CMSGT Melvina Smith, AFGSC command chief, by phone. âI know there are a lot of great candidates. I don’t think anyone can do this stuff on their own. I have a great support structure, I have some of the best aviators I can. asking and more mentors than I probably should have.They help me grow and continue to be the best person I can be.
SLECP is a commissioning program that allows senior management to select enlisted members for commissioning through the Officer Training School. The enlisted members who are selected demonstrate exceptional leadership talent and are incredibly talented in their specialty area.
âSgt Banta has been a wonderful leader and a member of 5th Communications Squadron,â said Lt. Col. Macey Bozarth, commander of 5 SC. “. We wish him good luck as he becomes a USAF officer.
SLECP does not hold any advice or application for selection, but during each selection cycle the competition is extremely stiff, with only one airman being selected from each major command of the US Air Force. SSgt Banta, among the thousands of airmen enlisted in the multiple bases of the AFGSC, was the only one selected for the SLECP.
“I look forward to seeing you as a second lieutenant and [I’m] I look forward to working with you in the future, âCotton said. âIt’s a late Christmas present and hopefully a great New Year’s gift, congratulations. “
The notable difference between the two pathways within SLECP is that during SLECP-A, an enlisted member will pursue full-time graduation while remaining on active duty; and during the SLECP-O, the Airmen already have their baccalaureate allowing them to enter directly into the OTS. SSgt Banta has been selected for the SLECP-A program, he will continue his baccalaureate studies and finish it in less than a year.
“He’s got his ducks in a row and whether he’s Staff Sergeant Banta, Lieutenant Banta, Lieutenant Colonel Banta or General Banta. I think he’s got his head on his shoulders and I think he’s going. lead well as a commissioned officer in our air force, âColonel Michael Walters, 5th Bomb Wing commander, told Cotton over the phone.