DVIDS – News – LEAP Fellows: Equipped with skills that cannot be trained “just in time”

With events unfolding around the world at all times, Airmen and Guardians must always be ready for battle. Much like the skills acquired over time by a pilot, the culture, language, and regional expertise that the total force needs for mission critical missions cannot be formed “just in time”.

Through the Language Enabled Airman program, more than 3,410 Airmen and Guardians, in 93 strategic languages, are equipped with the resources, training and tools to use on the go with skills that cannot be trained “just in time” . Serving as pilots, maintainers, finance journeymen, and medics, these Fellows develop and maintain their skills “on hand” while serving in their primary career areas. Dedicated language instructors who act as online eMentors and on-site instructors through Intensive Language Training, or LITE, events are instrumental in this process.

To carry the LEAP Special Experience Identifier, Airmen and Guardians must undergo consistent, active, and vigorous language and cultural training and be prepared to engage anywhere in the world when needed. These service members are already finely tuned warriors, and now as LEAP Fellows, they are also lifelong learners who regularly consume language and cultural education.

When Abu Dhabi agreed to receive and host evacuees from Afghanistan in August 2021, LEAP Fellows were eager to support the mission. A team of airmen from Al Dhafra Air Base, led by LEAP Scholar and US Air Force Lt. Col. Asim Khan, Director of Staff, US Air Forces Central Air Warfare Center, ADAB , worked 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. shifts, translating personal information to facilitate a smooth transition for evacuees arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Joining the processing team at Abu Dhabi International Airport, with no time to prepare, LREC’s skills proved an invaluable lifeline.

“Based on my experience, I recognized emerging needs to bridge language gaps between evacuees, UAE and US officials,” Khan said. “We actualized a logarithmic increase in operational tempo within hours, and the stressors associated with processing more than 5,000 evacuees indicated many areas for improvement following the arrival of each Air Force C-17. .”

The skills of a LEAP Fellow are honed and perfected over years of study and practice through one-on-one interactions and coursework. In addition, intercultural skills and language teaching ensure a pool of trainable scholars to build partnerships and interoperability.

For Intelligence Officer 1st Lt. Kent Romney, one of 34 LEAP Fellows developed by the Air Force Culture and Language Center in Russian and Ukrainian, LEAP courses prepared him to be used by Ukrainian special forces personnel for technical and intelligence training on small naval craft. School for their Black Sea Initiative. This experience spurred significant linguistic, cross-cultural, and professional development for Romney while helping the U.S. Air Force build a strong partnership with Ukrainian military personnel.

“Although I learned Ukrainian after studying Russian and living in Ukraine for a few years, it wasn’t until I enrolled in LEAP that I received formal Ukrainian language study,” said said Romney. “LEAP has been instrumental in my Ukrainian language and intercultural development. Not only has LEAP provided me with formal language training opportunities such as eMentor online language courses and LITEs, but it has also continuously provided me with the guidance and direction I need to maximize my potential. linguistic and intercultural during my career as an Air Force officer.

The AFCLC has made a considerable investment in strategic languages, such as capacity building in Mandarin Chinese and Russian. For example, since 2010, Chinese Mandarin and Russian LEAP Fellows have completed 61,748 hours of eMentor courses and 20,203 days of training through LITEs. Because of this specialized culture, LEAP Fellows are used worldwide by organizations lacking the LREC component in their mission plan.

Keith McCabe, AFCLC’s LITE Program Manager, said the Center’s Language Development Coordinators create a unique balance of language and culture to support the ongoing education of LEAP Fellows.

“LEAP Program Managers and PMAs work diligently with our Training and Travel Coordinators to develop, maintain and improve the language skills of LEAP Fellows by creating language programs in strategic locations around the world so they can benefit both linguistic and cultural aspects of the region,” said McCabe.

Career development in the Spanish language is essential to fill designated language positions and ad hoc requirements that promote interoperability with partners. For example, when the United States was designated as the “Nation of Honor” for the 2021 Mexican Air Defense Show, a team of Spanish-speaking LEAP Fellows were called upon for their diplomatic and technical skills to participate alongside the Mexican army.

“Without the support of LEAP Fellows, cross-coordination and engagement at the tactical level would have been extremely difficult. Being flexible and adaptable to change was key,” said Spanish LEAP Scholar Master Sergeant and Health Services Management Specialist. Diego Yoshisaki. “Our LEAP Fellows not only mastered the Spanish language, but were also aware of customs and military courtesies. “Flexecution” was essential, and these Airmen showed their professionalism, partnership, and airmanship with the Mexican military, Mexican citizens, as well as fellow Airmen. »

LEAP Fellows are often called upon to be used to provide the critical link needed to accomplish a mission. Demands for skills in French and Arabic, for example, often arise in the short term. LEAP provides willing, willing Airmen and Guardians who have provided their own long-term investment in their learning for such demands.

For example, during AFRICAN Lion, the largest military exercise in Africa, LEAP Fellows’ skills and knowledge of French and several dialects of the Arabic language were crucial to the success of their language support to the exercise, as they encountered several complex linguistic and cultural situations. during their mission.

Major Zachary Ziegler, LEAP Fellow and B-2 pilot, is one of 187 trained Arab LEAP Fellows with the highly technical language, regional expertise, and cultural skills ready to be deployed for use when needed. Identified via a short-notice training partnership request, Major Ziegler’s skills were ready.

“During my time in Morocco, I was able to bridge that gap between English and Arabic,” Ziegler said. “After only one day of work, I realized that Arabic translators were essential to achieving American objectives during this exercise.”

Across a range of languages, long-term investment through LEAP has the effect of ensuring the Air Force is no longer reliant on just-in-time training.

Date taken: 17.02.2022
Date posted: 18.02.2022 16:33
Story ID: 414954

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