By Airman 1st Class Naomi E. Walling
The 517th Training Group hosted the Presidio of Monterey’s 75th Anniversary Air Force Ball in the historic Club Del Monte at the Naval Postgraduate School on Sept. 24.
Celebrating a history of change and the different eras of Air Power, 273 joint service members and guests enjoyed an evening that featured Airmen dressed up in historical Air Force uniforms and listened to a keynote speech given by Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force, Roger A. Towberman.
Having served a majority of his career as an AF 1A8 Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst, Towberman’s inspirational remarks challenged attendees in three key ways: to be true to oneself and to grow daily; that it is okay to need help and strength that comes from asking for support; and that one should measure success by the difference one makes in the lives of others.
Discussing how Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center linguists play a role in the Space Force, Towberman shared that the Space Force works hand in hand with the Air Force and other branches to accomplish their mission.
“By law the Space Force can only have certain specialties, so we’ve got space operations and intelligence, space intelligence, and space assistance cyber missions. Those are the only enlisted specialties that we have,” Towberman said. “So, everything else from security forces to civil engineers to linguists, when we need them, [they] will come from the Air Force, and so we certainly will have linguists assigned to the Space Force,” he explained.
Towberman illustrated the importance of joint service due to the branches constantly working together to help get the mission done. Each military member does not just work for their specific branch; they work for the entire United States military, while completing their assigned duties.
“There’s no time in the near future where we will grow big enough that we would have our own organic language capabilities,” he said.
Towberman went on to express that the Space Force is still a fairly new branch that needs more time to grow in order to catch up to its sister services in terms of career availabilities.
Speaking about his experience at DLIFLC as a 1991 Chinese linguist graduate, Towberman said,
“I think it’s (DLIFLC) still filled with kind and wonderful people and great experiences. [It is] a lot of pressure, [but] a lot of fun,” he said.
“The technology has changed a lot. I walked around with brief cases full of cassette tapes that they gave us and an old tape player with headphones that you’d plug in and listen to and look things up by hand in a Chinese dictionary, which is exceptionally difficult. Now you can use computers …”