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

LEAP Spotlight: MSgt Oleksiy Redko

  • Published
  • By AFCLC Outreach Team

“There are approximately 7,000 different languages and dialects in the world and thanks to my foreign background, I can freely communicate in three of them (English, Ukrainian, and Russian). However, during my involvement with the Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP), I realized that there are other skills required to strengthen global partnerships and interoperability.      

For the past six years, I have been actively participating in LEAP. When I started my first e-Mentor course, I thought that I would learn nothing new since I had already been fluent in the Ukrainian language. After a few sessions, I discovered that just being fluent in both the Ukrainian and English languages did not automatically make me a professional interpreter. While I was able to understand both languages very clearly, I had issues with delivering an accurate translation. In some instances, I could not remember correct words and in others, I could not convert the main points clearly which led to misunderstandings. Undoubtedly, the advanced e-Mentor course helped me to improve in this regard.

Despite the progress I achieved through the e-Mentor course, I still found myself not fully prepared to interpret between Ukrainian and English. In 2015, as part of an overseas advanced Language Intensive Training Event (LITE) through the Training Partnership Request (TPR) Program, I was a subject matter expert and an interpreter for a bilateral military exercise in Ukraine. While there, I did not have any problems with explaining terminology related to my job however, I still had issues with the “on-the-fly” interpretation of the topics outside of my primary duty. Through this experience, I realized that I actually needed to prepare for these types of events ahead of time. Discussing abbreviations, jargon, and other details of the upcoming lecture with instructors prior to the event helped me become more prepared, which dramatically increased my competence as an interpreter and my ability to enhance the application of air power.

Subsequently, I served as an interpreter for numerous multi-national military exercises in Ukraine to include Operations Clear Sky and Rapid Trident through the TPR program. I continued to improve my cross-cultural, language, and interpreter skills and was able to contribute significantly to the success of these exercises and strengthen partnerships. Based on my experience, the most successful method of improving language, cross-cultural, and interpretation skills is to actively participate in real-life events that engage representatives from different cultures who speak different languages. LEAP TPRs effectively provided me with this opportunity.”

-LEAP Scholar MSgt Oleksiy Redko-

Congratulations to MSgt Redko! After 14 years of active duty service as an enlisted member, he was selected to become a commissioned officer through the Officer Training School (OTS) program and is scheduled to attend OTS class this fall.

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