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Building Partner Capacity in Romania with Language Support

  • Published
  • By Mikala McCurry, AFCLC Outreach Team

Language, regional expertise, and culture skills are key to enabling Agile Combat Employment in Air Force missions. When the Air Force Office of Special Investigations needed language support for critical operations in Romania, Master Sgt. Christina Bennett, a Romanian Scholar in the Air Force’s Language Enabled Airman Program, answered the call. 

“Bennett volunteered to deploy as a LEAP linguist in support of OSI operations in Romania. These OSI agents provided critical counterintelligence support to Department of the Air Force personnel and assets across Romania. Bennett provided support to OSI agents, supporting six locations with a DAF presence,” Special Agent D. Schweizer said.

This support was facilitated through the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Training Partnership Request process, which connects multi-capable Airmen in LEAP to missions where language and culture skills play an integral role in the operation's success.

“Bennett facilitated counterintelligence support to more than 600 DAF personnel deployed to Romania, and multiple sensitive and critical assets and missions. Bennett gave excellent linguistic support, greatly enhancing the effectiveness of OSI efforts.  Not only did Bennett provide in-person support during OSI meetings with partner nation counterparts, but she also provided remote support to OSI agents and Airmen dealing with very sensitive law enforcement and security matters,” Schweizer explained. 

During this event, Bennett provided essential language support while also educating and equipping OSI agents with vital information on Romanian culture to enhance their effectiveness.

“Bennett further leveraged her cultural expertise and knowledge to arm the OSI agents with a better understanding of Romanian customs and culture, improving their effectiveness and assisting them to avoid making mistakes that could damage relationships,” Schweizer explained.

This experience allowed Bennett to improve her knowledge and understanding of military and host nation interaction procedures while enhancing her language skillset.

“Working with AFOSI, I provided an interpretation of cultural norms and customs that directly enhanced the team’s capability to interact with local nationals, resulting in forming relationships that directly supported the ongoing mission,” Bennett explained. “The AFOSI team was able to teach me more about U.S. policy goals, which helped me understand the mission and provide a better translation and understanding. I also had the great honor to meet CMSAF Bass during her visit to our location.”

Because of her expertise in the Romanian culture and language, other units also called on Bennett to provide support during her mission with OSI.

“In addition to her support to the OSI team across Romania, Bennett also volunteered to assist other DAF and DoD units who needed linguistic or cultural support but lacked their own assigned linguist. Bennett set a very high bar for linguistic support to the OSI mission in Romania, and her presence was greatly appreciated,” Schweizer said.

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