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

LEAP Spotlight: Capt. Ramon Mangles-Manco

  • Published
  • By AFCLC Outreach Team
  • AFCLC

“I’m from Puerto Rico. My bachelor’s degree is in business administration with a specialty in finance and human resources and a minor in sports science. 

“I joined the Air Force as a Tactical Air Control Party Officer. After my role as a TACP officer, I cross-trained into intelligence where I’ve been working with intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance. Now, I’m working in SOUTHCOM with partner nations from all different countries in Latin America.

“I applied for the Language Enabled Airman Program in 2014 and was fortunate to be selected. With LEAP, I’ve taken several different trainings, from traditional eMentor classes with people with the same language skills to the Advanced Assessment course with a professor from the University of Columbia, Ohio. That was a great class where we talked about everything concerning Latin America, and we worked together on a project focused on national security and terrorism in today’s world. 

“I also went to Seville, Spain, and studied at a local school. There, we learned everything from Spanish military to politics to economics. We also had a deep immersion into Spanish culture. It gave me a lot of good information and perspective. It also helped with closing the knowledge gap between different partner nations’ way of life, culture, language, military, and history. 

“The last training I attended with LEAP was the Belt and Road Initiative Language Intensive Training Event, which was an outstanding training. Different levels of Air Force officers from various AORs received education from professors with a lot of specific knowledge. Thanks to LEAP, I received a lot of perspective on how different people think and could have different knowledge on the same topic; at the same time, the training minimized the ignorance I had, and other people might have had, on the subject of the BRI. 

“All the training I’ve received from the Air Force Culture and Language Center has given me the tools to not only understand but also to be aware of the needs of the people. I work with 32 different countries in SOUTHCOM. While they all speak Spanish, they are not all created equally. Every country has its own culture, way of life, and even its Spanish dialect. Thanks to the development LEAP and AFCLC have provided, we LEAP Scholars have opened our minds and knowledge on how we engage with partner nations and individuals. We’re building that trust and confidence. That makes a significant impact on the USAF.

“I think the professionalism, development, and readiness skills I’ve gained through LEAP are paramount. If I didn’t have this training, I wouldn’t have been ready to work in SOUTHCOM with different partner nations throughout the AOR to build mutually beneficial relationships.

“LEAP has even impacted my personal life. The knowledge I’ve gained is the knowledge I share to make other people aware so that I can develop other personnel. If I keep it to myself, there’s no win off that. The win is about sharing the experiences and the amazing knowledge LEAP provides.

“Knowledge is power, but it’s not going to come to you if you don’t find it. So, if you can join LEAP, take advantage of it. Get all the knowledge and experiences LEAP provides to develop yourself. Once you develop yourself, you become more knowledgeable. Once you become more knowledgeable, you become more professional. Once you become more professional, you can start sharing all the information you gathered through all the different environments from all the training. You can then translate or transfer that knowledge to future generations. The goal is to get the knowledge, internalize it, analyze it, understand it, then share it. That way, not only are you taking advantage of it, but other people can follow you and get the same information, and we can all improve the information we’ve gathered.”

--Spanish LEAP Scholar Capt. Ramon Mangles-Manco
 

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