By Natela Cutter
DLIFLC Public Affairs
MONTEREY, Calif., – The Commandant of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Col. Phillip Deppert, and Command Sgt. Maj. Matildo Coppi, presented awards Sept. 1 to the winners of the Department of Defense’s best Command Language Program and Command Language Professional of the Year.
“I am honored, and even more humbled to be here today to present these awards. You as individual Language Program Managers, and the organizations you represent really make up a ’team of teams,’ that keep the entire Defense Language Program alive and vital. It could not happen without each and every one of you. I couldn’t be prouder of what you do.” said Deppert.
Members of all four branches of the Services and DoD civilians gathered at DLIFLC’s Weckerling Center, at the Presidio of Monterey, to attend the Advanced Command Language Program Manager Workshop held from Sept. 1-3, during which the awards are traditionally presented.
Each year, more than 150 foreign language program managers attend the course 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.
“There is no end to the language pedestal,” said Cheryl Houser, National Security Agency Senior Language Authority and guest speaker at the event. “Just as you get to the top, the bar will rise. And you will be surprised at how you will make it over the top every time.”
The winner of the DoD’s best Command Language Program of the Year was the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command’s 500th Military Intelligence Brigade stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. The award was received by Col. Patrick Wempe, Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Cullen, and the Command Language Program Manager Frank Everson.
Individual Services selected the best foreign language professionals of their individual programs.
This year, first place was taken by the Navy, represented by Petty Officer 1st Class Harrison Goforth, who fluently speaks Modern Standard Arabic, Iraqi Arabic, Levantine Arabic, Egyptian Arabic and Somali.
“This award is really not mine alone, but it belongs to all who work diligently in this program,” said Harrison.
Second place was taken by the Air Force and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Non-Commissioned Officer, Staff Sgt. Nathan Evans, stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He received the award for his performance in the DTRA missions and for maintaining their foreign language program. He is fluent in Russian and Modern Standard Arabic.
The Marine Corps took third place, with Sgt. Nielsen Rivera, of the USMC 1st Radio Battalion. He fluently speaks Pashto, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, and Spanish.
Fourth place was awarded to the Army and Sgt. Elizabeth Stegeman from the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion, Chicago, Illinois. She received recognition for successfully training and maintaining proficiency in German, Russian, Polish and Ukrainian.
“This is a great workshop and the best place to network with people. We are all in the same foreign language business, but it makes a big difference when you talk directly with people, as opposed to e-mail,” said Irina Pucaric, DLIFLC’s Language Training Detachment site director at Camp Pendleton, California.
Posted Date: 3 September 2015