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Airmen volunteers teach English to ROKAF personnel

Tech. Sgt. Travis Bolt, (left), and Tech. Sgt. Troy Robey, (right), 607th Material Maintenance Squadron, Detachment 1, explain a common American phrase during an English class. Both Airmen have been voluntarily teaching English to Republic of Korea Air Force's 1st Fighter Wing personnel since September. (Photo by Ki Hyon Pak)

Tech. Sgt. Travis Bolt, (left), and Tech. Sgt. Troy Robey, (right), 607th Material Maintenance Squadron, Detachment 1, explain a common American phrase during an English class. Both Airmen have been voluntarily teaching English to Republic of Korea Air Force's 1st Fighter Wing personnel since September. (Photo by Ki Hyon Pak)

GWANGJU AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- On Monday and Wednesday evenings, in the Republic of Korea Air Force 1st Fighter Wing's aircraft simulator facility, Tech. Sgt. Troy Robey and Tech. Sgt. Travis Bolt, 607th Material Maintenance Squadron, Detachment 1, voluntarily teach English to ROKAF 1 FW personnel.

Approximately five to 10 ROKAF students, most of them officers and NCOs, are attending the class to learn colloquial English expressions as well as American culture, with each class lasting approximately 90 minutes.

"I felt very shy and had lack of confidence when I talked to teachers in English at the beginning, and did not properly answer questions asked by English teachers during the class," said Maj. Jin Yi, ROKAF 1 FW Jet Pilot, who is attending English class. "Now I am not afraid of having a conversation with teachers in English, even though I do not speak well."

Major Yi added that because the instructors are always well prepared for the class, the material is easy to understand and informative.

For the Airmen instructors, who have been donating their time with the program since September, volunteering has given them a better understanding and appreciation of the Korean culture.

"I just wanted to reach out my hands of friendship to ROKAF personnel because we live shoulder to shoulder on the same base and are making combined efforts in order to maintain freedom and security on the Korean peninsula," Sergeant Robey said. "This activity brought me an invaluable opportunity to understand better Korean military personnel in particular and Korea as a whole as well. It's my great honor and privilege to have such good opportunity to make friends with ROKAF counterparts."

In addition to receiving a better understanding and appreciation for his ROKAF counterparts, Sergeant Bolt said the experience teaching left him with a sense of accomplishment.

"There is a feeling of accomplishment in helping ROKAF attendees better understand English conversation and culture. It is a lifetime experience and something I will never forget."