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Routine meeting leads to a life changing surprise

  • Published
  • By Michele Ruff
  • Air Force Materiel Command

Teleworking from a home office during the current pandemic environment can often become mundane. A video conference in December was a little more exciting for Master Sgt. (select) Ashley Albizu. 

The call, a routine meeting concerning 2021 goals, took an abrupt turn when her commander said "hang on for a minute." 

That's when Air Force Materiel Command Commander Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr. appeared on the screen to announce that she was his number one choice for the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program (SLECP). Albizu says the moment was such a blur she was glad that she was at home where her wife, Carissa, could listen in and remind her later of what had transpired.  

The SLECP enables senior leaders to directly select enlisted members who exhibit exceptional performance and talent to commission through Officer Training School. The program offers two options; SLECP-A, for enlisted members to pursue their degree while on active duty status and SLECP-O, for Airmen who have already acquired their degree to directly commission. Albizu was chosen for SLECP-O.

Albizu is the stepchild of an Alabama National Guard member. When her stepmother returned to their small town from deployments, Albizu often mused, "I want to be part of that.”

“The heart-swelling pride and admiration I felt changed my life," she said.

Albizu did indeed become “a part of it” more than 12 years ago when she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. As a bioenvironmental engineering team member, she provides health risk assessments and identifies hazards in the workplace with the ultimate goal of finding solutions to ensure mission success. 

At first Albizu says she lacked confidence and didn’t trust her instincts, but as her career progressed, she gained maturity and problem-solving skills. She became an instructor at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, successfully tested for master sergeant and is working toward a Master of Science in instructional design.

With each accomplishment she yearned for more which led her to apply for the SLECP.

“Ashley’s dedication and drive to succeed will serve her well as an officer,” said Bunch. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to select her for commissioning.”

Albizu, who is now stationed at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, was informed that she will be able to pursue her desired profession, intelligence officer, where she will further hone the analytical skills she acquired in her current career field. She says she is humbled by the announcement and looks forward to learning, leading through example and sharing her experiences with others as she transitions to her latest life-changing experience.