Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. --
While millions watched the 2022 World Cup, Staff Sgt. Zahra Karim Zadeh was working behind the scenes with the Joint Task Force- Crisis Response team to bridge the language and cultural gap between the United States and multi-national forces.
KZ – as she goes by -- is a heating, ventilation and air conditioning instructor with the 366th Training Squadron here. A native of the Middle East, she was on a temporary duty assignment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, during the World Cup as part of the Air Force Language Enabled Airman Program. Five Air Force linguists were a part of this TDY sanctioning the development of international relationships.
“The tasking came in for an Arabic speaker, and I was picked up for the position as one of five linguists to fill the gap between the Qatari Military and the U.S. military,” said KZ. “We were all a part of LEAP and it was pretty cool being there. I really enjoyed it.”
LEAP is a volunteer program open to active duty officers and enlisted service members as it provides opportunities to strengthen partnerships and advance adversary understanding.
Brig. Gen. Matthew Reid, Commanding General of the Naval Amphibious Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, recognized KZ’s leadership qualities as she ensured proper crisis response procedures were being followed.
“She provided critical leadership and oversight throughout the mission,” said Reid. “This included working closely with the Qatari Ministry of Defense, across the JTF, including the JTF Headquarters and in the Joint Operations Center.”
KZ is back at Sheppard AFB resuming her role as an HVAC instructor and preparing Airmen for their career opportunities as they transition into the operational Air Force.
Article originally appeared on Air Education and Training Command site.