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LEAP Chapter Spotlight: Ramstein Air Base

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  • By AFCLC Outreach Team

Language-enabled Airmen and community members at Air Force and joint bases worldwide connect in LEAP Chapters to grow their knowledge and appreciation for language, regional expertise, and culture. The LEAP Chapter at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, was revived after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our chapter’s mission is to create opportunities throughout the Ramstein campus to educate and enable all multi-lingual and prospective members in the community about LEAP,” Ramstein LEAP Chapter President 1st Lt. Virginia Walsh said. “We work with base resources to assist in providing outreach capabilities to commanders and first sergeants, as there are also real-world operational opportunities for translation and interpretation support with our allied nations.”

The Ramstein LEAP Chapter connects with active and prospective LEAP Scholars through social media platforms and e-mail. They also welcome all language enthusiasts to participate in their gatherings, regardless of their status in LEAP. 

“Most of our networking comes from the workplace and mutual acquaintances, so we encourage members to bring a ‘plus one’ to our meetings and take back information to their own units to share the wealth,” Walsh explained. “We want to focus on the young Airmen who are foreign language and culturally oriented and see a career in service because we know LEAP will invest resources and time into its scholars.” 

Since its reopening, the chapter has hosted several successful events where guest speakers have provided insight into their foreign language experience or involvement in LEAP. They’ve also given chapter and community members the opportunity to share their own experiences.

“We hosted the AFCLC LITE Program Manager Keith McCabe and his team at Ramstein Air Base to discuss new developments with LITEs and answer questions from interested scholars. Additionally, we hosted a virtual briefing and Q&A with AFCLC Director Howard Ward on the future of LEAP and its focus on Agile Combat Employment to forge multi-capable Airmen. Lastly, we had one of our own Scholars give a presentation on her advanced TDY opportunities through LEAP where she used her Italian language skills to work with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Italy to recover fallen heroes from WWII,” Walsh said.

The Ramstein LEAP Chapter sees LEAP as an essential organization to help strengthen international partnerships while building cross-cultural competence with the Ramstein community and throughout the force.

“LEAP is extremely impactful in our specific area because Ramstein Air Base and the surrounding U.S. installations are in the epicenter of global contingencies and support. We are constantly exposed to foreign engagements over three areas of responsibility, generating unique opportunities for our language enablers,” Walsh said.

While LEAP Chapters worldwide help build a community of Scholars to share experiences and resources, they are also a key tool for networking and utilization opportunities for language-enabled Airmen.

“It is easy for a Scholar to solely join the program, complete their classes, and meet their requirements; however, the networking and partnerships are crucial to the ultimate mission,” Walsh explained. “Chapters bring diversity to the community because LEAP Scholars make up different ranks, career fields, military experience, languages, and backgrounds where everyone comes together with a common interest and passion.”

As one of the largest LEAP Chapters, Ramstein aims to continue its growth and spread more awareness about the importance of language, regional expertise, and culture to fulfill the Air Force and Department of Defense missions.

“We have always appreciated LEAP and its opportunities. In a rapidly changing world, we see that language and cultural competency is pinnacle to our force,” Walsh said. “The Ramstein LEAP Chapter hopes to continue our momentum and build a strong community for our foreign language enablers.” 

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