Air Force

August 8, 2013

The flying interpreter

Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

For most Airmen, graduating from technical school means joining the operational Air Force and settling in at their first duty station. But some Airmen chart a different course. Technical Sgt. Breana Reyes, 55th Electronic Combat Group command language manager, spent her first five years after tech school flying around the world with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Reyes joined the Air Force as a flying linguist. She spent two years at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where she became fluent in Russian.

After tech school she was headed for Offut AFB, Neb., but she heard of another opportunity.

“I found out about the DTRA initially when I was in the basic course at tech school,” Reyes said. “I was so excited. This magical agency existed where you get to use your language all the time and you get to really be an interpreter.”

Even though the agency preferred applicants to have at least four stripes, Reyes tried her luck and applied as a senior Airman.

Her risk paid off and she left for training in 2004. She went back to DLI for a year to complete the Russian Arms Speaking Proficiency course. Once that was complete, Reyes headed to Ft. Belvoir, Va., to be assigned her first mission.

“There are a lot of different treaties that involve the U.S. and Russia at DTRA,” Reyes said. “I worked in one called Open Skies.”

She became an interpreter sensor operator. Her primary duties were to fly over Russian territories and record imagery from the bottom of the aircraft.

“We flew in a special aircraft that allowed us to capture aerial imagery,” Reyes said. “Part of my job was to operate the sensor that took the photos. The other part, as an interpreter, was to handle all the negotiation, treaties and stipulations as well as air traffic control communications.”

More than 30 countries participated in Open Skies, and she could act as an interpreter for any one of them.

“There was an instance where Italy called us and said they needed someone to handle air traffic control communications for one of their missions in to Russia, so we did a joint mission with them,” Reyes said. “There were only two Americans on the aircraft, including me. Everyone else was Italian. I handled all the air traffic control flying through Moscow with an Italian crew on an Italian aircraft.”

As a young staff sergeant, Reyes traveled in civilian clothes on a diplomatic visa and said being a representative of the U.S. came with certain expectations.

“The level of responsibility that you have and the level of visibility on you is pretty crazy,” Reyes said. “At 23 years old I went to the U.S. Department of State and interpreted for bilateral negotiations.”

After three years as an interpreter sensor operator, she began traveling with DTRA.

“A lot of the opportunities at DTRA are for ground personnel, so that’s who the recruiters targeted,” Reyes said. “But Open Skies began to suffer, so I started traveling with the recruiter so that I could speak specifically to the flyers. From there personalities just gelled, and one day they asked if I wanted to be a recruiter for DTRA full time.”

She recruited from 2008 to 2011.

“The job offered so many fantastic opportunities that really all I had to do was set up shop and then wait for people to line up,” Reyes said.

The DTRA program is open to any military applicant. You do not have to be in the language field, but you must speak Russian at an appropriate level.

“I think DTRA is a great exercise in openness and transparency,” “We’re [Russia and the U.S.] two countries that for the longest time didn’t see eye-to-eye on anything and now we can come together and fly in the same aircraft while taking pictures of each other’s territories. That’s pretty phenomenal.”




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


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

Thunderbolt bounces back after belly landingThunderbolt bounces back after belly landing

On the evening of Sept. 30, an A-10 stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was coming back to base for a routine landing after completing a standard sortie. Just when everything seemed to be going as planned, disaster struck...
 
 
Richardson_pict

Down and out at Dyess: Air Force Assistance Fund to the rescue

It was scary, leaving home and joining an organization such as the United States Air Force. The people, job, and location were all brand new. When I joined the military, I came from a less than honorable home life.  I come fro...
 
 

SrA and below EPR static closeout date to be March 31

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Enlisted evaluation and promotion changes, announced in July, continue with establishment of a March 31 enlisted performance report static closeout date (SCOD) for Regular Air Force (RegAF) senior airmen and below, Air Force Personnel Center officials said Dec. 5. Additionally, change of reporting official evaluations (CRO) have been...
 

 

Keep holiday sweet tooth in check

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Assorted sweets are a big attraction on display in stores and are advertised in television commercials. Despite the effort to escape purchasing them and knowing they’re not healthy, people still tend to crave, buy and gobble them up. On top of the negative impact these treats have on health...
 
 

Master sergeant evaluation board, SNCO promotion changes coming

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force continues the phased implementation of its Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) changes with the convening of a master sergeant evaluation board scheduled for May 2015. Evaluation and promotion system changes, scheduled for implementation over the next 16 months for active-duty Airmen, are focused on ensuring job perfor...
 
 

Davis-Monthan EOD detonates WW-II era mortar at Fort Huachuca

An explosive ordnance disposal team from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, safely detonated a World War II-era 81mm mortar on Tuesday at 10:43 a.m. in Area H, Slaughterhouse Wash, at the end of the Libby Army Airfield runway on Fort Huachuca. A rider on horseback reported a sighting of the unexploded ordnance to fort personnel...
 




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