AFCLC, Air Force Culture and Language Center, Air Force's Global Classroom

Get to know: Air Force Times’ Airman of the Year and LEAP Scholar Capt Gluck

  • Published
  • By AFCLC Outreach Team

Air Force Captain Julian Gluck has a few copies of the Air Force Times at his home that he has been giving to family. The newspapers and a large wooden American flag serve as keepsakes for the B-52 long-range bomber pilot who has been named the publication’s Airman of the Year. At just 27-years-old, Capt Gluck is being recognized for his community service, his devotion to country, and his commitment to the Language Enabled Airman Program.

He shared his story with the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Outreach Team and explained how LEAP has helped him sustain his language skills and shape him into the Airmen he is today.

How were you selected for the Airman of the Year award?

My father was overseas and watching the American Force Network (AFN) when he saw a commercial about the Service Members of the Year Awards. He got together with my little brother—who is a senior at the academy and studying Chinese—and together they submitted a package about me for the award. Months later when I was deployed, I received an email requesting letters from my commander and volunteer programs. After receiving the news and returning from deployment, I was sent to D.C. for a ceremony with congressional and military leaders and got to see the monuments and Military Times headquarters with the other service members. It has been a surprising journey, and I am very thankful.

So, you come from a military family?

I come from a large military family. My father, brother, both grandfathers, and great-grandfathers have served at one point or another in many wars.

I knew since I was child that at some point I would serve in the armed forces. It didn’t feel like an obligation but rather a calling and an opportunity to be a part of a family legacy. So, at 17, I went to Basic Cadet Training at the Air Force Academy and spent four years there where I majored in political science with a Japanese minor.

What made you decide to minor in Japanese?

All cadets at the Academy have to take a few language classes, and I selected Japanese and continued my studies into a minor because I thought it would be cool: I loved the culture, history, and sushi. Since then I’ve been able to go on several trips to Japan and work with foreign military leaders and visitors. Having this background turned out to be an awesome opportunity as a bomber aviator when I was deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam; during my time there, I was able to really use my language skills and cultural knowledge with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) at the Cope North exercise.

LEAP has helped you improve your language skills. Describe your experience as a LEAP scholar.

After spending four years at school studying Japanese and going to pilot training, I really understood that these language skills can atrophy; it can be challenging depending on where a person is stationed to find people who speak certain languages. Through LEAP, I have been able to keep up my skills by taking eMentor courses and going on Language Intensive Training Events in Japan. So far, I’ve been on several LITEs to Fukuoka and Tokyo, and going on these immersions reinvigorates my love of learning and my desire to broaden as an Air Force officer.

LEAP has been an enjoyable part of my career and I look forward to improving my language skills and cultural understanding for years to come.


Along with the Japanese language and culture, you also have a passion for volunteering?

My family always talked about helping those who are less fortunate. I was well aware at a young age how challenging things can be for some people depending on their circumstances and even their geographical location. Traveling the world, you see different examples of this every day.

For me, it’s about being grateful for the opportunities I have. I always wanted to mentor young people, help the elderly, and just take a moment to lend a hand. I am currently focused on volunteering with the Civil Air Patrol and the Knights of Columbus. Making a difference keeps me going, and I’m always in awe of all the amazing people I have met through the Air Force and around the world.



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