The language skills of the Inter-American Air Force Academy team were at the forefront during the Programa Integral para Suboficiales de Alta JerarquÃa, a professional development training engagement conducted with the US Army South and the Colombian Army of 14 to June 25.
The two-week event was held at the Western Hemisphere Security Cooperation Institute in Fort Benning, Ga., And MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., For approximately 40 soldiers from the Colombian and Peruvian armies. . PISAJ-15 was the next step in their professional development as an Army Sergeant Major.
During the training weeks, five IAAFA members provided uninterrupted assistance during PISAJ-15. They translated two consecutive weeks of briefings from English to Spanish – working after hours to facilitate discussions between Latin American soldiers, whether they attended a military briefing, spoke to a non-Spanish speaking soldier, or purchased the Post Exchange.
“It was a great experience,” said Master Sgt. Alexander Jaime, IAAFA Head of Standardization / Assessment. “I think what we’ve shown is that we bring so much more to the table than just our language, the ongoing after-hours support and the flexibility to get the job done.”
Chief Master Sgt. Emilio Avila, IAAFA Superintendent, led a mission briefing on Day 1 of PISAJ-15 to discuss the academy’s capabilities. Technology. Sgt. Monserat Bravo, NCO in charge, IAAFA International Student Operations, was one of four members who led an expert group on integrating women into the military.
âIn the past, I used to sit away from the table,â Bravo said. âMy male colleagues tried to include me and let me know that I am part of the team and that I should not exclude myself. This way they helped me see that we have the same ability regardless of gender.
The gender discussion generated dozens of questions and comments from Colombian soldiers, including Sergeant Major Carmona Adiela Henao of the Colombian Army. She praised the women for helping to lay the foundation for other women in the military.
âI’m a mom too. I have a 14 year old son, âHenao said. âI also had to figure it out in difficult times at home and at work, but that didn’t stop me from moving forward. I really commend all of you today for breaking down the borders in this country; it serves as an example in our own countries.
PISAJ-15 was the first time that some IAAFA members worked as translators in a similar event.
âWe do security cooperation; we are ambassadors for the IAAFA, Air Education and Training Command, and the United States, and this experience has helped a lot, âsaid Jaime. âThere were some tough times, but we were able to do it seamlessly without any crashes. “