HomeNewsArticle Display

Airman uses LEAP experience to enhance AFSOUTH mission

DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. (AFNS) -- The Air Force is made up of a diversely talented group of people whose personal skill sets often enhance their careers and one Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Airman is using his language and culture skills to support a unique Air Forces Southern mission.

Capt. Kawika Berggren, a C-130 Hercules navigator who speaks fluent Spanish, is currently serving as the executive officer for the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA). He was accepted into the Language Enabled Airman Program in 2011.

The Language Enabled Airman Program is meant to facilitate the development and sustainment of foreign language skills of those serving in the Air Force," said Mr. Zach Hickman, the director of Language Maintenance and Enhancement at the Air Force Culture and Language Center at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. "The program is voluntary for Airmen and participants may be accepted for multiple languages. Once a candidate applies, that application is evaluated by the LEAP selection board, which typically meets twice per year."

After receiving an endorsement from his commander and being accepted into LEAP, Berggren traveled to Ecuador for LITE, a program designed to immerse participants in the culture associated with their respective language, as well as bolster their language skills.

"With acceptance into LEAP, which is a lifelong program, we're supposed to attend a language intensive or language immersion event within the first 24 months," Berggren said.

In addition to LITE, LEAP participants also take part in eMentor training to further strengthen their language skills and increase their understanding of the cultural elements associated with their respective languages.

"Like any form of training, participation in LEAP enhances and develops the innate language skills and interests of individual Airmen to their fullest potential," Hickman said.

While all of the training and immersion has been personally rewarding, Berggren realized his LEAP experience has the potential to further the Air Force mission as well.

"The entire LEAP program is so that we have cultural (subject matter experts) in different career fields," Berggren said. "I'm a navigator, who is considered a subject matter expert in Latin culture, not only because I speak the language, but because I have been down there learning the culture, going through the history, the mythology and the politics."

A combination of his LEAP training and communication with his commanders about his skill sets and career goals propelled Berggren to his current position with SICOFAA.

"SICOFAA originated in 1961," Berggren said. "The overarching mission (of SICOFAA) today is to promote and strengthen trust, friendship and mutual support among its members. Currently we have 20 member nations from Canada all the way down to Argentina. We also have five observing nations."

Having an understanding of Latin culture and being able to communicate fluently in Spanish, allows Berggren to facilitate SICOFFA exercises and events with member nations and observing nations, which promote interoperation for humanitarian and disaster relief.

"This past (air chief's conference), we had a memorandum of understanding for bilateral humanitarian and disaster relief assistance," Berggren said. "For example, the earthquake in Haiti, if we had communications with them and if we had all of this already set up, we could have sent a message to all of our stations and let them know, 'They had a pretty bad earthquake, be on standby for assistance.' We're trying to guide toward cutting all of that red tape."

Ultimately, preparing Airmen who can effect change and strengthen partnerships through programs such as SICOFAA is what LEAP is all about.

"By identifying Airmen with proficiency, the Air Force gains a ready pool of language-capable individuals across a wide variety of career fields, affording a great deal of flexibility in fulfilling missions requiring language skill," Hickman said.

Engage

Twitter
Supporting senior leader priorities by modernizing the force! #InnovativeAF https://t.co/l7ki9ffj6m
Twitter
Herculian birds in the sky 🦅 🦅 🦅 The 120th Airlift Wing tested their readiness w/a 6-ship formation of C-130 Her… https://t.co/UNqpKf1UkC
Twitter
“The #COVID19 crisis has dynamically changed our entire world." Dover AFB is the first @AirMobilityCmd base to con… https://t.co/Q2idnUCxoo
Twitter
Join Dr. Will Roper for an Ask Me Anything on Oct. 26 from 2:30-4:00 p.m. It will focus on Deep Tech & Moonshots: H… https://t.co/zXtgKlx455
Twitter
Dominate the EMS The Electromagnetic Spectrum exists in Air, Space, & Cyberspace. Whether you’re at home or in com… https://t.co/N9dhhB3D9n
Twitter
Supporting the Department of the Air Force Arctic Strategy. From development to ops in less than a year! These inn… https://t.co/kDXsw1hJ8P
Twitter
Taking care of people The Women’s Health Transition Training, which is offered virtually, provides information on… https://t.co/yL9UQ0V9rf
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: I believe that success takes a team, but failure you can do alone. Grateful for the chance to sit down and connect with a…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: A new $33 million contract is increasing #COVID19 testing capabilities at 42 #military treatment facilities across the @usairf
Twitter
Accelerate change or lose. @GenCQBrownJr expressed his vision for fulfilling the Air Force's mission and protectin… https://t.co/t2iHEW5yAM
Twitter
RT @airforcerso: Every operation and campaign is only as strong as its supply chain. Tune into #AMO2020 today to watch teams compete in a w…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Thank you to @MilFamiliesMag for talking with Sharene and me today. The wellbeing of our families is essential to the suc…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: While many people are sleeping, Maintainers are still hard at work... Our teammates Ellsworth AFB, shared a picture of…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: It’s the Airmen who aren’t in this photo that I want to talk about. They are out there right now turning wrenches, gene…
Twitter
RT @airforcerso: 13 teams are competing to help the @USAirForce with better performing, more cost-effective & reliable technology that prod…
Twitter
Keeping combat agile 💪 @USAF_ACC is testing agile combat employment & a new lead wing deployment concept intended… https://t.co/0F3nAwIZnx
Twitter
Strengthening international partnerships. #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/m5YeqA8i5G
Twitter
Modernizing our fighting force! #AimHigh #InnovativeAF https://t.co/pEQUJdqYFE
Twitter
#DYK The 563rd Rescue Group directs flying operations for the #USAF's only active duty rescue wing dedicated to Com… https://t.co/QYDiSZ50qe
Twitter
Another day at the office. Can't comPLANE. 😉 ⚡ #LoveThisJob #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/7Vjemy7gP7
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,296,352
Follow Us