Air Force

December 14, 2012

AF pilot immersed in Dutch life during exchange program

Maj. Stacie N. Shafran
14th Air Force Public Affairs

VOLKEL AIR BASE, the Netherlands (AFNS) — For the past two years, Maj. Dan McGuire, an F-16 pilot, and his wife, Jen, called the Netherlands home.
McGuire participated in the Air Force Personnel Exchange Program and served as an exchange pilot with the Royal Netherlands air force. He was assigned to the 312th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Volkel Air Base.

Prior to moving overseas, the couple attended an intense, six-month Dutch language course offered by the Defense Language Institute in Alexandria, Va.
“The course was fantastic and really prepared us for our assignment,” McGuire said. “When we arrived in the Netherlands, we were fluent enough to negotiate our housing lease, set up our utilities, and blend into our new community.”

Professionally, the language training enabled McGuire to perform day-to-day squadron operations entirely in Dutch. Although his colleagues were fluent in English, which is the official language of both NATO and the aviation community, McGuire preferred to engage with them in Dutch to practice his language skills. As a result, his command of the language was proficient enough to receive mission and flight briefings in Dutch, as well as manage squadron operations.

“During my assignment, I went from understanding an average of maybe 65 to 75 percent of what was said on a daily basis, to understanding 85 to 95 percent,” he said.

“Exposure is the key. Your ear learns to listen for the right things, as you become more accustomed to the pace and rhythm of the language. And speaking-wise, I am much more comfortable. My vocabulary has improved somewhat, but it’s the ‘common speak’ that has really come along. Knowing the lexicon, the catch phrases, and the semantics goes a long way toward getting your point across.”

McGuire’s fluency also gave his Dutch supervisors confidence in his ability to coordinate with higher echelons. This afforded him a unique opportunity last summer. Between June and September 2011, McGuire deployed to the Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC) in Poggio Renatico, Italy, in support of Operation Unified Protector. He served as the Dutch liaison officer and senior national representative, coordinating, planning, and liaising between the Dutch Fighter Command in Holland, the Dutch F-16 expeditionary detachment in Decimomannu (Sardinia), and the planners at the CAOC.

“I worked daily with the CAOC director and deputy combined forces air component commander, and was a part of multiple innovative operations that improved the efficiency of combat operations there,” McGuire said. “The hours were sometimes grueling, since as a one-man-show I had to be present for the daily planning and coordination meetings. On weeks that we flew nights, I also had to be available on the (operations) floor during our eight-hour fly-window. Overall, I learned a tremendous amount about air operations first hand. There’s no substitute for real world experience!”

McGuire developed his air operations knowledge base a few years ago through a planning course at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and most recently through joint planning courses offered in his Master’s in Military Operational Art and Science degree through Air University’s Air Command and Staff College.

The assignment provided McGuire with numerous opportunities to engage with other NATO countries, fostering mutual understanding of each other’s cultures and air forces.

“Cultural differences are often underestimated. Knowing how deep they run can pay huge dividends when connecting with foreign-service members,” he said. “Coalition operations are the future. I’m glad that I’ve been able to build the professional relationships and gain the understanding that will further our ability to facilitate those operations in the future.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airmen 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

Davis-Monthan Airman helps Tucsonan

One weather forecaster’s self-aid buddy care training quickly resurfaced when she witnessed a car accident outside the gates of Davis-Monthan. Senior Airman Amanda Boone, 355th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, ...
 
 

U.S. Air Force to kick off COOL program

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) — The Community College of the Air Force officially launched the Air Force Credentialing Opportunities On-Line program March 16. Air Force COOL is a pathway for enlisted Airmen to earn industry recognized professional certifications and licenses to enhance their active-duty work and to prepare them as they transition to...
 
 

Military leads the way in equal opportunity

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — What does it take to change a nation? What force has the power to move millions of people in their fundamental views of the world? For Christopher Daniels, a U.S. Air Force colonel, that answer is simple: leadership. In his words, “The true agent of change is true leadership.”...
 

 

Doolittle Tokyo Raiders to receive Congressional Gold Medal

(U.S. Air Force photo) On April 18, 1942, Airmen of the U.S. Army Air Forces, led by Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, carried the Battle of the Pacific to the heart of the Japanese empire with a surprising and daring raid on military targets at Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Nagoya, and Kobe. This heroic attack...
 
 

AFAF gives all Airmen a chance to pay it forward

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — It’s Sept. 12, 2005. Senior Airman Dennis Hutchison is recovering from a hard day’s work on the flightline of Robbins Air Force Base, Georgia, when he receives a call that tragedy had struck. “I got a notification from my family that my father had passed away,” Hutchison said. “I immediately contacted...
 
 

Rocketry Club ready to take flight this weekend

TUCSON, Arizona – On March 28 and 29, hundreds of rockets will soar into the Tucson sky at Desert Heat 2015. Rocket enthusiasts from around the Southwest will gather for this annual two-day rocketry event, where there’s no cost to watch, and kids always fly free. The rockets that will be launched vary in size...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin