Air Force Language Enabled Airmen Program in Action
The Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP) is designed and managed by the Air Force Culture and Language Center (AFCLC) to sustain, enhance and utilize the existing language skills and talents of Airmen. The goal of LEAP is to develop a core group of general-purpose force (GPF) Airmen across specialties and careers possessing the capability to communicate in one or more foreign languages.
Recently, Anastasia Stuart, a staff sergeant with the US Air Force, who was born and raised in Nizhnekamsk, Russia, got to use her language and culture skills as part of a U.S. effort to transfer $7.6 million towards an expeditionary military field hospital to the Ukrainian government to help enhance the country's ability to treat soldiers. The Expeditionary Medical Support System (EMEDS) team was tasked to go there to train about 80 Ukrainian military members and as a LEAP staff sergeant with knowledge in Russian, as well as the medical career field, Stuart was a perfect match for the five-week temporary assignment.
Asked how her language and cultural skills helped the mission, she discussed how one time she assisted a meeting between the ODC and DHL shipping company officials.
"The issue was the delay in shipments of the non-lethal military aid that the U.S. government sent to support Ukraine in the conflict with Russia," she said. "The shipment was sitting in customs, and there was a big misunderstanding on the local customs procedures that needed to be clarified. I was able to use my language and cultural knowledge to smooth the situation, and assist in the development of a new policy for similar future situations."
The LEAP program has allowed Stuart to sustain and even enhance her language abilities, which has been useful in her personal and professional life. It is also a stepping stone to accomplishing her career goal of applying for a defense attaché position in an Eastern European country.