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LEAP Spotlight: Capt Panupong Phongpitakvises

Photo Courtesy of Capt Panupong Phongpitakvises

Photo Courtesy of Capt Panupong Phongpitakvises

MAXWELL AIR FORCE, Ala. --

LF Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) is an annual exercise consisting of a series of bilateral training evolutions between the U.S. and several Southeast Asian countries, in which U.S. Marines and Sailors train cross-culturally with service members of these nations.  LF CARAT demonstrates U.S. commitment in Southeast Asia while increasing operational readiness and the capabilities of U.S. forces. This exercise is designed to promote cooperation with other countries, and to continue to build lasting, working relationships, which will add to security and stability in the region.

Capt Panupong Phongpitakvises, a Thai LEAP scholar, reflects on the importance of utilizing language-enabled U.S. military members in building relationships with partner nations,

"This experience for me was extremely rewarding, I was able to use my language skills to solve logistics problems for the USMC since there weren't any Thai interpreters on site. Being U.S. military gave me more credibility, so I was able to jump in and help without them asking ‘can we trust this guy?’ I was able to help high-ranking Thai Royal Marine officials to communicate with the USMC Officer in Charge to get what they needed in order to set up a location for camp. Overall, I am grateful for the mission and would love to do it again."

-LEAP Scholar Capt Panupong Phongpitakvises