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

Language Enabled Airmen engage the global landscape in Chile

  • Published
  • By AFCLC Outreach Team

The Department of the Air Force has a program that’s perfect for meeting our partners and allies in their language and culture, and it’s called the Language Enabled Airmen Program, or LEAP. The Air Force Culture and Language Center’s bench of nearly 4,000 highly skilled, language-enabled Airmen and Guardians have supported global operations in 128 countries in 98 languages since 2017. While many LEAP Scholars do this critical work outside their daily roles, some utilize their innate culture and language skills as part of their Air or Space Force specialty in Language Designated Positions (LDPs).

Spanish LEAP Scholar Master Sgt. Giselle Uribe serves in an LDP in Chile as the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer and the Testing Control Officer at the Office of Security Cooperation. In this role, she utilizes the language and culture skills she gained through LEAP on a daily basis, as she provides guidance and oversight for Knowledge Operations Management. She also assists the Office of Security Cooperation Chief with leadership and administration tasks under the U.S. Embassy in Chile and the U.S. Southern Command.

“I’ve been able to use the skills I acquired through LEAP daily. My LEAP experience has prepared me for this role because I can go beyond daily interactions when speaking the language. LEAP taught me translation/interpretation techniques other Spanish speakers may not have. I’ve used these during engagements with the partner nation, bilateral conferences, and key leader engagements,” Uribe explained.

Uribe was accepted into LEAP in 2015 and has participated in several Language Intensive Training Events, a LITE University course, eMentor courses and supported key leader events. When her office called on her to support key leaders visiting from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Uribe leaned on the skills gained through her LEAP training to effectively facilitate the interaction between USAFA senior leaders and the Chilean Air Force Academy for social conversations and formal translation of presentation materials on the spot.

“Recalling my training, I stayed focused, used the methods and techniques previously learned, and finished the presentation successfully. When the key leaders provided positive feedback, I informed them I couldn’t have done it without the specific skills developed through LEAP,” she said.

Uribe advises other LEAP Scholars desiring to work in LDPs to research and “truly take advantage of all the LEAP training.”

“There are many factors to consider when seeking a language-designated position, such as family composition, local culture, safety and security concerns, education, etc. However, if the member finds a location and position that suits their needs, it can significantly expand their operational perspective and make their expertise highly desirable,” Uribe said.

LEAP Scholars like Uribe help the Department of the Air Force successfully integrate with partners and allies while engaging the global landscape.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunities the program has granted me and how it has prepared me to directly support one of U.S. Southern Command’s priorities - to strengthen partnerships,” she said.

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