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

LEAP Spotlight: Capt. Andrew Pommersheim

  • Published
  • By Capt. Andrew Pommersheim, Russian LEAP Scholar

Growing up, my dad was a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department, so we moved around a lot. That’s why I speak Russian, Spanish, and Japanese. Also, my mom is originally from Belarus, and I spent a few years growing up in Russia, so we spoke Russian at home. I heard about the Language Enabled Airman Program while I was in ROTC at the University of Maryland. It appealed to my background and interest in learning languages, so I applied and got in during my senior year.

The Language Enabled Airman Program has allowed me to reconnect with my heritage in a way I haven’t been able to since I left home. The immersion programs and eMentor courses have allowed me to regain much of my lost fluency.

As an engineer in the Space Force, I started off working on agile software development. Then, I received the opportunity to go to Japan to support the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System program for a long-term TDY. I am now a propulsion engineer on the Vulcan rocket, which launches satellites into orbit.

My LEAP training really came into play this past summer when I went to Japan as part of an international agreement between the U.S. government and Japan’s Space Policy Secretariat. I worked with Space Systems Command to help deliver two sensor payloads to be integrated into two new Japanese GPS satellites that will be launched on a Japanese-developed launch vehicle as part of the U.S. Space Force - Japan mission. The coolest part of this opportunity was completing some technical debugging with Japanese engineers. This experience stretched the viability of my Japanese while contributing to an important mission, which was incredibly rewarding.

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