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.


 
 

 
12AF_pict

AFSOUTH medics arrive in Belize to facilitate obstetrics course

Three International Health Specialists and three non-governmental organization personnel supporting the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) arrived in Belize to facilitate the Global Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics Instruc...
 
 

355th FSS invites D-M to join intramurals

The 355th Force Support Squadron would like to invite all Active Duty and Department of Defense personnel to join the intramural sports program. The intramural sports program is an organized sports competition designed to meet the needs of all personnel beginning at the lowest levels. Active duty personnel have priority in all programs as determined...
 
 

55th Electronic Combat Group

The 55th Electronic Combat Group provides combat-ready EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, crews, maintenance and operational support to combatant commanders. The group also plans and executes information operations, including information warfare and electronic attack, in support of theater campaign plans.
 

 

DUI in Arizona: You can’t afford it

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. –  Arizona has some of the toughest drunken driving laws in the United States. The average overall cost of a DUI in the state of Arizona is around $10,000. Crazy, right? Ten thousand dollars may seem hard to swallow at first, but first time offenders often find themselves paying considerable unforeseen...
 
 

Is being good, good enough?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – In today’s Air Force can you settle with just being good? I say, “No.” With the Air Force executing the deepest force cuts since the end of the cold war with programs such as the Quality Force Review Board and the Enlisted Retention Board, what you do and how well you...
 
 

‘Final Rule’ offers broader mental health care coverage

WASHINGTON – TRICARE military health plan beneficiaries will now have access to both TRICARE-certified mental health counselors and supervised mental health counselors, a Defense Health Agency official said here today. In an interview with DoD News, Dr. John Davison, DHA’s behavioral health branch chief, said the so-called “Final Rule,” published yesterday, will go into effect...
 




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