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LEAP Spotlight: Staff Sgt. Sagar Khadka

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  • By AFCLC Outreach Team

“After being born in Nepal, I spent the next two decades learning and living the language, culture, religion, and customs of Nepal. The next chapter of my life started when I turned 19 and moved to New York City. Everyday introduced countless challenges, but the hardest part of moving to America was learning to speak English. The education and life skills I have gained from coming to America have opened countless doors, including me joining the military and becoming an Air Force CE electrical technician.

“After joining Air Force in 2016, I took the Defense Language Proficiency Test for Nepalese, Hindi, and Urdu. I applied for the Language Enabled Airman Program in 2019 and was very fortunate to be selected for Urdu Language. I cross trained to Nepalese language in 2021. With LEAP, I’ve taken several different trainings, from traditional eMentor classes to Language Intensive Training Events. The last training I attended with LEAP was a LITE in Nepal, which was an outstanding opportunity. 

“On September 9, 2021, I was informed by my commander that I had been assigned to Task Force Liberty and had to report to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst within 48 hours to support Operation Allies Welcome. Because I was a LEAP Scholar, I was recruited to the Cultural Advisement and Assessment Team. During the time, I was working under a great commander, Lt. Col. Adam Howland and his team. 

“Task Force Liberty JBMDL oversaw the immediate care and wellbeing of displaced individuals from Afghanistan during Operation Allies Welcome. Within the Task Force Liberty, JBMDL the Cultural Advisement and Assessment Team were the primary conduit between Afghan guests and every organization present in JBMDL. We actively created many resources and dispersed information needed to communicate and connect with Afghan individuals and families. Upon arrival to JBMDL, I quickly became deeply involved with advocating multiple aspects of cultural competency, both with the Afghan persons that arrived in America as well as with the thousands of service members providing for them at the base.

“LEAP has helped me meet both my professional and personal goals. LEAP has impacted my Air Force career overall by broadening my mindset to consider opportunities. Being a multi-language capable Airman, LEAP has taught me how my own actions can have a positive or negative impact in the Air Force. LEAP has provided me with unique learning opportunities to boost my language skills as well as personal and professional development. I have been able to approach and solve many problems using multiple perspectives learned from LITEs and eMentor classes. I am constantly utilizing the knowledge and experiences I’ve gained through LEAP.”

-Urdu and Nepalese LEAP Scholar SSgt. Sagar Khadka

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