Brigadier Gen. Steven Basham, a Bowling Green native, will be presented Friday afternoon at the Pentagon an honor earned by few – his second star and a promotion to major general for his dedication to the U.S. Air Force.
A promotion to his current ranking as brigadier general, also known as a one-star general, in the U.S. military takes years of dedication and service. Basham is receiving the next honor of promotion to major general. Basham will now be known as what is referred to as a two-star general after almost 27 years of service. There are fewer than 100 major generals in the Air Force, a branch with about 300,000 active-duty personnel.
"Your first reaction to a promotion is always that you're humbled and highly honored," Basham said from Washington, D.C. "It's a privilege to be able to continue to serve where the Air Force needs you."
Basham graduated from Bowling Green High School in 1983 and went on to attend Western Kentucky University. In 1987, he received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering technology. Basham currently lives in Springfield, Va., with his wife. They have two daughters, Lauren and Sarah. He reports for work at the Pentagon each day, just a 30-minute drive away.
Family of the brigadier general said he deserves this promotion after his hard work and service to his country.
"He’s worked really hard to this point and enjoys serving the Air Force," said Angie Basham, his wife, from their home in Virginia. "So, it’s a great day."
His job title, before the promotion, was deputy director for Requirements, Joint Staff, the Pentagon and Washington, D.C. After today, Basham will not only have a change of rank, but a change of title to director and legislative liaison to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon and Washington, D.C. Basham will facilitate communications between the Air Force and Congress on all programs. He will collaborate with both the House and the Senate on authorization of the Air Force's $145 billion annual budget as well as prepare the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force for engagements on Capitol Hill.
"I'm very excited about it," Basham said. "The job I'm getting ready to do, it's a great way to serve."
Bowling Green has another Purple being promoted to serve as a high ranking officer in the Air Force. Chance Saltzman, BGHS class of 1987, was made aware of his promotion to one-star, brigadier general in April of this year. Saltzman will be pinning on his first star early Friday, before Basham.
Joe Tinius, a retired educator and former superintendent of the Bowling Green Independent School District, knew both generals throughout their education. Tinius was Saltzman's high school tennis coach and was Basham's teacher. He believes the strong work ethic he saw from both was the key to their success.
"I’m very proud of what they’ve accomplished," Tinius said. "It’s always exciting to watch former students progress over the years and their service to our country makes it even more special."
The soon-to-be Maj. Gen. Basham said he is happy to have friends and family there. He also said it will be an honor to have his former boss, three-star Lt. Gen. Tod Wolters, there to present his second star.