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

LEAP Spotlight: Tech. Sgt. Carlos Flores Reynes

  • Published
  • By AFCLC Outreach Team
  • AFCLC

“Throughout my military career, I have served in multiple roles, starting in the Electrical Power Production career field providing maintenance to generators and aircraft arresting systems. I later cross-trained to become a Cyber Warfare Operator to learn the intricacies of information systems, computer networks, and industrial control systems to protect them against cyber-attacks. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Information Systems from the University of Maryland UC in 2018 and my master’s degree in Cybersecurity from the University of Charleston in 2021. I am currently stationed in Nellis AFB, where I serve as a Cyber Aggressor.

“My language journey started when I was born in Puerto Rico, where Spanish is the primary language. However, both my parents are immigrants from Cuba and Mexico, which allowed me to learn Spanish from multiple regions. Once I joined the military at a young age, I used my first language less frequently. Finding the Language Enabled Airman Program allowed me the opportunity to maintain and improve my Spanish skills by exposing me to different country regions and eMentor courses.

“I learned about LEAP from a fellow Airman who was part of the program. He explained the benefits and potential impact we could have by becoming part of the organization. I became interested in LEAP once I understood it could help me improve my language skills while also using it to help others along with my military career. Having the ability to improve my language skills further was a major upside to joining the program that interested me the most.

“My overall experience as a LEAP Scholar has been exciting and refreshing. I had the opportunity to increase my proficiency levels by taking multiple eMentor courses through the program, along with two Language Intensive Training Events in Costa Rica and Spain. These immersion courses provided adequate training while also expanding my language skills and cultural awareness of different regions worldwide. The ability to connect with other people through their native language is what makes improving my language skills worth it. 

“Working as a Cyber Aggressor is important to ultimately understand new cyber vulnerabilities. Some of the information presented comes from different languages. Analyzing this type of information and integrating it with our current technical competencies is paramount to training, educating, and improving our cyber defense teams in the Air Force and strategic partners. As we replicate adversaries in different countries, it is important to learn from new tactics and procedures that have been implemented in different cyber incidents and attacks. Being proficient in multiple languages allows me to present better-opposing forces emulation to the training audience and cyber missions.

“LEAP has been paramount in my ability to stay sharp with both of my languages. It has given me opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible, such as being selected for the first Belt and Road Initiative event at Maxwell AFB. This type of event allowed me to grow as a leader while also being part of critical discussions and topics that could shape the Air Force as a whole. Joining the program has undoubtedly been one of the best decisions in my military career. 

“I wish more people knew about LEAP and the resources and experiences it can provide. This program is vital to ensure the Air Force continues to develop personnel with different languages and cultural skillsets to develop strategic partnerships worldwide. These skillsets will become more valuable as we work with other countries to create long-lasting partnerships to enhance global security.”

--Spanish LEAP Scholar Tech. Sgt. Carlos Flores Reynes

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