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LEAP Scholars Build Partner Interoperability with African Partners

  • Published
  • By Mikala McCurry, AFCLC Outreach Team

Eleven German Language Enabled Airman Program Scholars accomplished the charge of building partner interoperability with our African nation partners through language support that aided the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing and 409th Air Expeditionary Group with enhancing water sustainment at Nigerien Air Base 101, Niamey, Niger. 

Through the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Training Partnership Request, the 435th AEW requested translation support for a technical writing project to translate two major documents. The documents, totaling 62 pages, needed translation from German to English.

“This technical writing project demonstrated the can-do impact of LEAP Scholars on building partnerships in Niger and meeting short-notice operational needs through language and cultural skills,” AFCLC’s Language Division Chief Mr. Christopher Chesser said. “In response to Gen. Charles  Brown Jr.’s call to accelerate change or lose, our Scholars are smashing old paradigms and bringing the capability to bear when and where it’s needed.”

The translation of these documents was critical for continuing a project in progress with the 435th AEW and German partners to drill a well at a deployed location for enduring water sustainment. Without support from the LEAP team, the unit’s mission could have been postponed or derailed.

The LEAP team coordinated with members around the globe and divided into teams. Each team divided the pages equally amongst the team members to create the translation. After completing the translation of their assigned section, members sent their documents to a designated partner for review. The lead from each team consolidated the documents and looked for discrepancies. The consolidated documents were then sent out one final time for review before sending a final copy to the requester. 

German LEAP Scholar Maj. Franklin Nesselhuf participated in the project as his first official translation opportunity for the Air Force.

“The documents prevented the USAF from having to go through the testing and verification process a second time. The documents we were using were actually a German translation from French from the government of Niger and revealed the water was too hard for use with filtration. That information will be very useful in informing the civil engineers where to drill and the requisite facilities needed to make the water potable. As we look to compete against Russia and China in Africa, developing bases and promoting stability in societies will be key to geopolitical success and human flourishing,” he said.

Lt. Col. Gordon Kinney, Director of Staff at the 435th AEW, thanked the LEAP Scholars for their efforts in fulfilling the translation needs on this project.

“Africa is an unforgiving environment. Between the heat, dust, wind, and lack of water, our Airmen are taxed daily,” he said. “This well affords our Airmen the peace of mind they need to focus on delivering secure, reliable, flexible power projection platforms to combatant commanders. And that’s thanks to the efforts of a few brilliant, dedicated LEAP Scholars.”

Before the requested translation support, German partners involved in the project had already accomplished well drilling on their side of the base. The team at 435th AEW needed a translation of these documents concerning the established well to expedite and enable drilling of the U.S. Forces’ well. Without the translation of these documents, U.S. forces could not proceed with digging the well for airbase sustainment. Funding and engineering were in place, so the document translation was the final piece needed to commence the time-sensitive project. 

Lt. Col. David Troxell, Commander, 768th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron, also expressed sincere appreciation for the LEAP team and their work to support a project that will significantly enhance essential systems on their base.

“This translation helps streamline a $500 thousand project, ultimately supporting a $1.6 million total water production/treatment and distribution system,” he said. “This will go a long way to calm our nerves about sourcing water so we can focus on sustaining base operations, building our African partner’s defense capabilities, and enable counter-violent extremism operations in the Sahel. This isn’t just a win for the U.S., it’s a win for all our allied and partnered nations."

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