2 Vance Airmen earn BTZ

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  • 71st FTW Public Affairs
Two Vance Airmen were selected to sew on E-4 six months early Dec 7 and 8 here through the Below the Zone program.

BTZ is a quarterly program that allows commanders to promote a select number of outstanding E-3s to the rank of senior airman six months early.

Airman 1st Class Christophore Hountohotegbe, a 71st Force Support Squadron force management journeyman, was recognized in his workplace by Col. Clark Quinn, the 71st Flying Training Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Peter Speen, the 71st FTW command chief, Dec. 7.

Airman "H," as his coworkers call him, will sew on his new stripe Feb. 8, 2016

Airman 1st Class Brian Boarman, a 71st Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight weather forcaster, was presented his stripes Dec. 8 by his squadron commander Lt. Col. Michael Drost and Chief Master Sgt. Kraig Chapman, the 71st OSS superintendent. He was joined by his wife and daughter.

Boarman will sew on his new stripe Jan. 4, 2016.

Hountohotegbe, 26, and a native of Benin, West Africa, joined the Air Force in March 2014, and plans to stay in the Air Force and possibly commission, he said. He expects to complete his bachelor's in 2016 or early 2017.

"I think it will be a little more stressful," said Hountohotegbe about earning senior airman Below the Zone. "Everyone is watching you since your made BTZ, and they will expect more from you."

"Airman 'H' has a presence when he walks into a room that demands attention," said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Dibello, the 71st FSS Military Personnel Section NCO in-charge. "He grabs your attention with his smile, and that presence spills over into his work ethic. He is a leader among his peers, and a charismatic professional. He has a maturity that is not often found in an A1C. He had a lot more going for him on the BTZ board than just eligibility." 

According to Boarman's leadership, he carries himself with a maturity that is also rarely found in Airmen of his rank.

"Airman Boarman is super mature," said 1st Lt. Kyle Yaffe, the Weather Flight chief. "He joined the Air Force after college and has the natural maturity that comes with age."

He is the first 3-level Airman straight out of tech school to join the Weather Flight here in 16 years, said Master Sgt. Richard Lawson, the chief of weather station support. His ability to quickly and efficiently earn his 5-level validated the new training program.

Boarman, a Leavenworth, Kansas, native, holds a Bachelors of Science in Biology, and worked as a corrections officer of his hometown sheriff's department before joining the Air Force.

"It pushes me a little bit more," said Boarman, about being selected for the early stripe.