Intel Airmen graduate new language lab

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Eight Airmen from the 303rd Intelligence Squadron became the first to graduate from the new language lab here Jan. 30. Col. Jacqueline Walsh, 692nd Intelligence Group commander from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, presented the graduation certificates to the students.

"Everyone did a great job of making this happen," said Colonel Walsh. "The class is leaps and bounds ahead of where it used to be nearly two years ago. This initiative is already paying (huge) dividends and we're very impressed at PACAF."

The new lab consists of a 4-foot-by-5-foot computerized, interactive dry-erase board, video teleconferencing, computer work stations and more. This triples the unit's training capacity, allowing linguists needing to complete mandatory language training in order to maintain proficiency in listening, reading and speaking multiple foreign languages. 

"Prior to the construction of our language lab, we had no facility of our own to conduct
this critical training," said Staff Sgt. James Allen, 303rd IS command language program manager. "We used to borrow space from dormitory day rooms or the base library's magazine reading room to hold classes. This was a (major) inconvenience for teachers and students, and severely minimized our ability to provide quality training as required. With the completion of the language lab, we're able to provide technology that matches the high skill of the language professors from Yonsei University teaching the class." 

Previously, the training was offered to linguists on a quarterly basis, but thanks to the $111 thousand renovation project, linguists can receive training monthly. The project called for the complete overhaul of one area of the squadron and putting the entire gamut of language learning resources at a student's fingertips. At any given moment, the language professor can use the high-tech board to activate, use and view the DVD, TV, Internet and word documents simultaneously on one screen by using new technology, like touch screens. 

The lab houses and provides a multitude of language learning resources from books to MP3s, and these are available to everyone within the unit, not just the linguists, Sergeant Allen said. It also provides a meeting place for other volunteer courses such as the Korean Conversation Class which offers cultural and language exchange between U.S. Air Force and Republic of Korea Airmen.