Local

September 6, 2013

Celebrating Middle Eastern and North African heritage

Attendees at Fort Irwin’s first Middle East and North Africa Heritage Celebration discuss a poster of Afghan-born American Khaled Hossein, whose novel “The Kite Runner” was a best seller and basis for a popular movie of the same title.

 

It was standing room only, at Fort Irwin’s Sandy Basin Community Center, as the National Training Center’s military and civilian community held its first annual Middle Eastern and North African heritage celebration, Aug. 14.

“It’s the birthplace of many of the religions that we all celebrate today,” said Lt. Col. Scott McFarland, Regimental Support Squadron commander, in introducing the noontime program. “It also remains strategically important, politically and militarily, to countries around the world, including our own.”

McFarland noted that many MENA Soldiers are assigned to his squadron, as members of the Army’s first translator interpreter company, the 51st Translator Interpreter Company, established here in 2008.

The celebration included short video interviews of several TICO Soldiers and a civilian employee from the region and remarks by 1st Lt. Katherine J. Ly, commander of 51st TICO.

Ly noted the unique capabilities of her company of about 150 Soldiers, who speak more than 29 different dialects and sub-dialects of the Middle Eastern and North African region, most of which are not tested by the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., the Department of Defense’s premiere language training school.

Soldiers of the 51st TICO provide skill sets beyond what a normal linguist can perform, Ly said.

“If you go into a key leader engagement with educated, high-ranking officials, chances are the majority of them will not be using ‘elementary level’ terminology…I am sure foreign dignitaries will have confused and somewhat agitated expressions on their faces, when you ask them, ‘Can you explain that again in simpler terms?’” Ly said.

While Army units hire local interpreters during overseas contingency operations, Ly said her company’s Soldiers are unique.

“When a unit comes under fire, what kind of tasks can a local national perform? Can they fire back? Can they properly describe distance and direction? Can they send up a Salute Report? And most importantly, can they provide tactical combat casualty care?” Ly said. “…the vast majority of them still have immediate family living in these combat zones and hostile areas, yet they still vow to serve in our Army to valiantly assist us in our efforts downrange…words cannot describe the appreciation BCT [brigade combat team] commanders have for their valor. Others in theater never cease to express to me the two words that truly illustrate their duties: ‘force multiplier.’”

In a video interview, a 51st TICO Soldier of Armenian background said he was from a large Armenian community in Iran and speaks Armenian and Farsi. He explained that in addition to knowing a host-nation language, understanding the culture is very valuable.

Fort Irwin’s director of public works, Muhammad Bari, noted his roots go back to Pakistan, but “the best part of living in this country is you are accepted for your professionalism.”

“If you will work with others and respect them, they are likely to respect you,” Bari said. “It’s like a flower basket with different kinds of flowers with different fragrances. Every flower has its place that all can enjoy, if everyone does their work.”




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


 
 

 
Gustavo Bahena

Focused on the battle against TBI’s

Gustavo Bahena Colonel Cheryl Taylor-Whitehead, commander of United States Army Medical Department Activity here, and Shannon O’ Kelley, chief operating officer of the UCLA Health System, sign a memorandum of agreement at For...
 
 
Photo by Serina Viers, MEDDAC

After foot amputation, Soldier’s mission is to remain infantry

Photo by Serina Viers, MEDDAC Spc. Kevin Nguyen performs an Army Physical Fitness Test at Fort Irwin, March 12. Staff Sgt. Rafael Machuca (right) of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, here, administered the APFT. Sergeant 1st C...
 
 
Photo by Jason Miller, Public Affairs Office

Vietnam Veterans converge on Fort Irwin for tribute

Photo by Jason Miller, Public Affairs Office A Vietnam War Veteran returns the salute of a young U.S. Naval Sea Cadet. The exchange took place at the 2014 Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Ceremony, here, March 28. Home of the Nati...
 

 
Photo by Carlo Casem, Training Support Center

Retired K9 finds peace with veteran family

Photo by Carlo Casem, Training Support Center Max, a retired military working dog, was given a certificate, medal and doggie toys by the War Dogs Association Chapter 1-Western Region, a non-profit that supports handlers and ado...
 
 

News Briefs April 4, 2014

Ongoing Free tax preparation services. Fort Irwin Tax Center, building 288. All Active Duty, Retirees, and their dependents, as well as Reserve and National Guard on orders for more than 30 days, can use the Tax Center for free tax preparation. Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Call for an appointment at 380-3604....
 
 
CW3-shows-helicopter

School Age Services children learn about safety, helicopter mission

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rob Lopez, a UH-72 A Lakota helicopter pilot with B Company, 2916th Aviation Battalion here, speaks to children from the School Age Services program about the Sokol helicopter mission at the National Tra...
 




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