By Patrick Bray
DLIFLC Public Affairs
MONTEREY, Calif. – The Commandant of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Col. Phil Deppert, presented awards to the winners of the Department of Defense best Command Language Program and Command Language Professional of the Year Sept. 27.
Members of all four branches of the Services and DOD civilians gathered at the Weckerling Center, at the Presidio of Monterey, to attend the Advanced Command Language Program Manager Workshop held from Sept. 27-29, during which the awards are traditionally presented.
U.S. Army policy states that units that are assigned linguists must maintain a command language program and provided several hours per week for linguists to train to maintain their language. More than 150 command language program managers attend the course each year to glean knowledge about the trends in foreign language acquisition and new products offered to military service members to better maintain and improve their foreign language skills.
The winner of the DOD’s best Command Language Program of the Year for 2015 was the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command’s 704th Military Intelligence Brigade at Fort Meade, Maryland. The award was received by Col. Rhett Cox, brigade commander, and Selena Heckman, the Command Language Program Manager.
Heckman is a 2012 graduate of DLIFLC in Korean and is also a Soldier-linguist in the Army National Guard. She has been with the 704th MI as a Department of the Army Civilian since February.
“I was lucky to come in with an unbiased and outsider’s view of the program. The statistics, the numbers on paper, show how over the past five years the 704th has improved annually in proficiency, training and in our processes,” said Heckman.
Heckman also adds that things could not be more conducive to language learning for a command language program by way of command support and the operational environment than in the 704th MI. The brigade supports its linguists by always finding, evaluating and utilizing more opportunities for them to improve their language proficiency.
“The recipe for an ideal CLP is talent management, command emphasis and hard driven command language program managers. This is the structure you need to build a language program. To have one without the others, the program could fall flat,” said Heckman.
Finalists for the DOD Command Language Program of the Year were the 3rd Radio Battalion Marine Corp Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay, the Navy Information Operations Command Bahrain and the 43rd Intelligence Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.
The 2015 DOD Language Professional of the Year was Tech. Sgt. Craig Erwin, 25th Intelligence Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Erwin was not available to attend the conference and the award was received by a representative of the squadron.
The runner up for the DOD Language Professional of the Year was Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Finneran, Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii in Honolulu.
The 2015 U.S. Army Language Professional of the Year DOD Finalist was Cpl. Fabian de Araujo of the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The 2015 U.S. Marine Corps Language Professional of the Year DOD Finalist was Staff Sgt. Matthew Paisie, Company D, Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
Posted Date: 28 September 2016