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Fairchild welcomes LEAP club

(U.S. Air Force courtesy graphic)

(U.S. Air Force courtesy graphic)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --

Do you know a second language and want it to boost your Air Force career? Team Fairchild now has a Language Enabled Airman Program for Airmen of all ranks on base.

LEAP, at large, is an essential program managed by the Air Force Culture and Language Center at Maxwell Air Force Base, created to sustain a pool of Airmen who are willing and able to use their foreign language and culture skills to complete a mission.

The Fairchild LEAP club, inspired by the competitive Air Force-level program, aims to encourage those who are proficient in a language other than English to share their background and knowledge with others, and hopefully aspire to become an Air Force LEAP scholar in the future. 

“We offer an application board review for those who want to be a part of the Air Force-wide LEAP,” said Capt. Aigerim Akhmetova, 92nd Force Support Squadron operations officer and LEAP club president. “During the review, we discuss the application and selection process. In general, Air Force LEAP selection is based on members’ academic history, performance in their primary duties, level of language proficiency and Air Force requirements. Reviews include a pre-brief of the application and selection process.”

The club also aims to contribute to the National Defense Strategy’s priority of Strengthening Alliances, as well as the 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander’s priority of developing Airmen while promoting culture and connectedness. 

“The club’s intent is to provide mission support while utilizing our members’ cultural and language expertise,” said Akhmetova.  “We are developing culturally competent leaders by providing mission-driven immersions, professional and personal development opportunities, and mentorship for Airmen of the Fairchild community.” 

According to Capt. Abror Samotov 92nd Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker pilot and LEAP club vice president, the Fairchild LEAP enhances more than 20 languages for its members, and focuses on three words: culture, diversity and language. 

“As LEAP Airmen, we can serve as interpreters and cultural advisors for commanders, provide country specific immersions and conduct language mentoring and seminars,” Akhmetova said. “We can advise based on our personal experiences and be a support group because that is part of developing Airmen and the mission.”

Fairchild LEAP members value the importance of understanding a wide-range of perspectives and acknowledging cross-cultural differences.

“Language has been a significant element of creating group memberships, a vehicle to express one’s culture and a symbol of unique personal identities,” said Akhmetova. “Airmen’s language tells us about their culture and serves as a marker to bring them together based on common ground, shared knowledge and experiences. Language embodies storytelling, which is key to connecting with our allied partners and other foreign nations.”

Through its extensive list of professional development programs and organizations like the LEAP club, Team Fairchild is able to develop Airmen prepared for today and tomorrow’s challenges. 

For those interested in joining Fairchild’s LEAP club, please contact Capt. Akhmetova at 509-247-3666 or email the LEAP org box at 92ARW.FAFB.LEAP@us.af.mil.