392nd IS member selected for commissioning
By Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady, 480th ISR Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 13, 2019
JOINT BASE HICKAM-PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- As the news broke from the other end of the phone, Tech. Sgt. Kristen Ketterer, 392nd Intelligence Squadron, was overcome with excitement.
On the other line was the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing’s command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Trey Walker, notifying her that she had been selected for the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program and recommended by Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Steven Wilson.
“I’m not sure there is one specific word that can describe the feeling of being accepted,” said Ketterer. “Overall, I am extremely excited and anxious about my future as a commissioned officer. I know there were a lot of strong contenders, and I am truly humbled by the opportunity General Wilson has given me.”
SLECP-O is an initiative where designated Air Force senior leaders can directly select exceptionally performing and highly talented enlisted members for commissioning through Officer Training School. Being selected for this meant her traits aligned with what the Air Force is looking for in their commissioned officers.
“I truly feel that there are opportunities everywhere, even within failure, and I believe this mindset will help me motivate our next generation of Airmen to see that their potential is limitless,” said Ketterer.
Her leaders could see how she would excel as an officer and the impact she has on the mission.
“Honestly, I wasn’t the least bit surprised,” said Capt. Katelyn Ernst, her supervisor. “I’ve never met anyone more deserving of this selection than Ketterer. She epitomizes the core value ‘Service before self’ and I could not be more proud of her as a leader, teammate and friend. I have been spoiled by having Ketterer as my flight chief over the past six months. She is one of the most humble, intelligent, loyal and fun people I know, and I am so excited for her to begin her future as an officer in the United States Air Force.”
Ketterer did not reach this accomplishment alone and remains thankful for all of the support and mentorship she received along the way.
“There are a lot of people who helped me get to this point, and I am extremely indebted to them for their support, mentorship and motivation,” added Ketterer. “My biggest supporters and rocks have been my husband, Tech. Sgt. Justin Ketterer, and our children. Our two families have also created an amazing and supportive environment for motivation as we have navigated our years together in the Air Force. From my military side, I have what seems to be an endless list of supervisors, Airmen, and mentors who have helped get me to this point, and I wish there was room to name them all.”
As Ketterer hung up the phone, she was ready to continue leading her Airmen but this time as an officer.
“Though I haven’t gotten the chance to speak with him, I would like General Wilson to know that I am grateful to be his selection for SLECP-O and that I will absolutely make the most of this opportunity,” said Ketterer. “I look forward to the unique opportunities and challenges being a commissioned officer will bring.”