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LEAP Spotlight: Maj Jacob Jensen

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  • By AFCLC Outreach Team

“I joined the Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP) in 2010. I learned Portuguese while living in Brazil for two years doing community service before joining the Air Force. As a LEAP scholar, I was allowed to grow my language capabilities and go on a Language Intensive Training Event (LITE) in 2011 to Portugal. I spent part of the time in the Lisbon Embassy and NATO headquarters, and the remainder at Lajes Field in the Azores with the 65 ABW. While at Lajes, the POLAD office coordinated opportunities for me to engage with multiple Portuguese Civilian employees working for the Air Force. I admit it was challenging to adapt my ears to the local accent, but the experience was rewarding.

My LITE went by quickly, and soon I had to go home, but it left me with a strong desire to return; in fact, I brought home a patch from one of the units as a souvenir. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this served as an omen for things to come. Almost nine years later, I returned to Lajes this summer to take the guidon of that unit as the squadron commander – the 65 LRS. My unit is predominately made up of Portuguese Civilian Local Nationals, so speaking Portuguese has become quite handy. Although I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to do a Foreign Area Officer type assignment in the future, this job is hitting the sweet spot allowing me to immerse myself in the culture and language while continuing to leverage my expertise as a Logistics Readiness Officer. I found out recently that my language capabilities factored into the decision for selecting me for this command – thank you, LEAP, for setting me up for success!”

-LEAP Scholar Maj Jacob Jensen-

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