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NEWS | Jan. 12, 2023

605th AMXS star earns gold bar

By Airman 1st Class Sergio Avalos Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

In November 2022, Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Oliver, 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief, received the surprise of a lifetime. During morning roll call, 305th Air Mobility Wing leadership notified him that he was selected by Air Mobility Command to commission through the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program.

“It was definitely a surreal moment,” said Oliver. “My mouth was getting dry, I was shaking and couldn’t believe it was real.”

The SLECP-A program allows Air Force senior leaders to give enlisted members who demonstrate exceptional leadership and performance skills a commissioning opportunity. The program will allow Oliver, a Colorado native, to complete his degree full time while remaining on active duty status. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics at Embry Riddle University, Oliver will attend Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama and is tentatively approved to attend Pilot Training.

Following his high school graduation, Oliver was accepted to Colorado State University, but quickly realized how expensive tuition was and decided to enlist in the U.S. Air Force instead. After nearly a decade of service including three deployments, Oliver realized he wanted to not only fix aircraft, but also help fix the lives of Airmen at a larger scale. 

As an enlisted Airmen, Oliver discovered that he needed to commission in order to incorporate the positive organizational changes he believed would be the most beneficial. With that in mind, he hopes to bring his experiences and perspective as a noncommissioned officer into the U.S. Air Force commissioned officer core.

“As an NCO, I was a person for my people by helping them get awards and recognition and making their lives a little bit better,” said Oliver. “As an officer, I’ll be able to continue to do that and effect greater change for a broader population.”

Oliver’s supervisors praised Oliver for his leadership presence as an NCO and have no doubts that he can excel as an officer.

“His selflessness and care for others will make him a great officer,” said Master Sgt. Jeremias Ramos, 605th AMXS section chief. “He’s been able to tackle every challenge that we’ve put in front of him and I’ve never met anyone in my entire career that achieves and excels at everything.”

Leaders like Oliver allow Airmen to reach their full potential while simultaneously enabling mission success.

“I hope to bridge the gap between officers and enlisted Airmen,” said Oliver. “I think as an officer I have an opportunity to bring a family-oriented culture into our work environment.”