Air Force ROTC sergeant gets surprise of his life, path to officer commissioning

  • Published
  • By Phil Berube
  • Air University Public Affairs

When getting some good, life-changing news, it doesn’t really matter how it’s delivered.

Technical Sgt. Vincent Boven found out over the airwaves in early November that the commander of Air Education and Training Command had tapped him for a highly selective program to receive a commission.

The 12-year veteran was sitting with fellow cadre members at the Air Force ROTC detachment at Michigan Technological University chatting with the Headquarters AFROTC commander, who was doing a virtual visit with the detachment. Then all of a sudden, Boven said, AETC Commander Lt. Gen. Brad Webb popped up on the screen.

“I swear my heart skipped a beat,” said Boven. “As soon as I saw him, I knew what was coming, but it felt unreal.”

The general dropped in on the virtual call to tell the native Michigander that he had selected him for the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program. The program allows senior leaders to select highly skilled and exceptionally motivated enlisted members to complete their college degrees and then attend Officer Training School to commission. Boven was selected for the SLECP-Active Duty Scholarship, or SLECP-A, which allows him to stay on active duty while finishing his electrical engineering bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University.

“I could not believe it,” said Boven. “I am pretty sure I was speechless!”

His selection for the commissioning program, however, didn’t surprise his boss.

“Boven is an amazing noncommissioned officer and will be an outstanding officer,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Pulliam, AFROTC Detachment 400 commander. “He has the perfect focus and balance on mission and people. He carried the detachment for a year plus during a manning crisis and still found time to take care of 86 cadets. When I say take care of, I mean both professionally and personally. He holds mentoring sessions every week with cadets to help guide and navigate them to graduation and becoming Air Force or Space Force officers. He is already performing the duties of a company grade officer and crushing it!”

Boven is in charge of the detachment’s administrative programs. His military background includes time on the staff at U.S. Air Forces Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. It’s his time on the flightline as an F-16 avionics system technician, however, that generated his desire to serve and help others and sparked his interest in electrical engineering.

“I would love an assignment that keeps me around as many enlisted Airmen as possible or an assignment that puts me in a position to greatly influence Airmen's lives for the better,” he said.

Whatever Boven ends up doing once commissioned, Pulliam believes the service will be that much better having him as part of the officer corps.

“Boven is very well-rounded and respected by those around him,” said Pulliam. “We at Detachment 400 are extremely proud of his accomplishment and look forward to seeing him do incredible things for our Air Force as a commissioned officer.”