Fairchild Airman from Belarus assists Ukrainians at home, abroad

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Morgan Dailey
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The faint scent of salt mingled with the wind and the scent intensified as the distance closed. The waves and the sand danced carelessly to the ocean’s beautiful melody, entirely unmoved by the onlookers admiring their dance.

After more than 24-hours of driving, numerous bathroom breaks, and crossing international borders of five different countries, they finally arrived. Young Artsem and his family completed his first road trip to the Black Sea in Bulgaria.

Even though Ivashanka created many fond memories with his family and friends growing up in the Republic of Belarus, he decided at a young age that Eastern Europe would not be his home forever.

Tech Sgt. Artsem Ivashanka, 92nd Force Support Squadron manpower analyst, left his home in Eastern Europe in his early 20’s, determined to find better opportunities for himself. He moved to the United States and arrived alone in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2008.

“The most challenging part of coming to America was leaving behind family members,” said Ivashanka. “Growing up I had a great support system and moving meant losing that.”

To form new support systems, Ivashanka joined the Air Force in 2011. Although Ivashanka only planned to complete a four-year enlistment, the Air Force continued to offer opportunities for him, and he continued to re-enlist.

Ivashanka joined the Language Enabled Airman Program, LEAP, in 2015, allowing him to support the Air Force’s priorities with his ability to speak Ukrainian and Russian. LEAP is for Airmen who are not career linguists but can speak multiple languages. 

Through LEAP, Ivashanka recently attended the three-week long Partner Nation Training. Ivashanka worked with the Inter-European Air Force Academy, translating for Ukrainian Forces training in Germany.

“Partner Nation Training was different from what I normally do through LEAP,” said Ivashanka. “This was the first time they sent enlisted members to Germany to participate in warfighter training.”

Ivashanka explained that LEAP requests normally entail interpreting and translating for distinguished visitors or online documents. Partner Nation Training was a tactical mission working directly with Ukrainians Forces to translate their training.

“I wanted to go to meet my fellow NCOs from Ukraine,” said Ivashanka. “This wasn’t just the Air Force sending me, this was also a personal opportunity for me to help Ukraine as much as I could.”

After returning from Germany, Ivashanka began volunteering to support local Ukrainian refugees in Spokane.

“I help with simple things like applying for IDs, social security cards, or medical appointments but that are important for them,” said Ivashanka. “I attend Ukrainian children’s parent-teacher conferences to help translate.”

Regardless of where Ivashanka is, he supports the mission in front of him. From the mission at Team Fairchild, supporting as a manpower analyst in 92nd Force Support Squadron, in his free time assisting local Ukrainian refugees, or through LEAP emphasizing the Air Force’s priorities, aiding our Ukrainian partners.

“As a nation, we play a very important role in the international theater,” said Ivashanka. “We need to continue to help Ukraine because our efforts matter.”