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LEAP Spotlight: Maj Theodore Shillig

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  • By AFCLC Outreach Team

Maj Theodore Shillig is a 62E (Developmental Engineer) who has been a Japanese LEAP scholar since 2011. He began his language training during a two-year immersion in Japan. During this time, the focus was solely on learning to speak. Enrollment in advanced Japanese courses at the United States Air Force Academy increased his reading ability. He has continued to hone his Japanese skills over the years by participating in multiple online language courses through eMentor as well as participating in overseas immersions through the Training Partnership Request (TPR) program.

In 2015, Maj Shillig had a 2-year assignment in Japan working with the Japanese Ministry of Defense. He also provided Japanese language support between the US and Japan for the Ballistic Missile Defense Deliberate Planner Course in 2016 as well as the Artillery Relocation Training Program in 2019. In 2020, Maj Shillig participated in Exercise Cope North 20 (CN20), a multi-lateral exercise between the US, Australia, and the Japanese Air Defense Force. Maj Shillig provided language support and facilitated discussions and briefings on Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) and Large Force Exercise (LFE). He was recognized as a Top Performer for this exercise, performing among the top five percent of his unit.

“The daily interaction with the Japanese warfighter provided unique opportunities to learn and contextualize military terminology and use,” Maj Shillig noted. “The U.S goes to great lengths to conduct training with our allies. It is clear that developing international relationships is important. However, it is also clear that work needs to be done regarding cultural sensitivity… Seeing how both the Australian and Japanese conducted operations gave great insight as to what they could bring to a ‘fight’. Each organization, including the U.S., has strengths and weaknesses. Identifying these areas early in the planning stages can greatly influence the overall effectiveness of the training/mission. Supporting COPE NORTH gave me a much greater appreciation for the intricacies involved in planning and executing multi-lateral exercises and missions. Additionally, the advanced Japanese required to support this exercise benefited my language learning.”

-LEAP Scholar Maj Shillig-

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