Special Operations News

5th SFG Voted Top Language Program by USSOCOM

FORT CAMPBELL, KY – The 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was recently chosen as the 2011 United States Special Operations Command top Command Language Program during a Language & Cultural Seminar at Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Aug. 30, 2011.

The 5th SFG (A) has received the award four of the last five years. In addition to winning the USSOCOM award in 2007, 2008, and 2009, the Group was the 2009 runner-up for the Department of Defense Command Language Program of the Year.

Due to the enduring requirement for Green Berets to train and communicate with foreign host nation forces, 5th SFG (A) has continued to refine its language program over the years to support the current operational tempo. As part of that refinement process, the Group developed a six-month intensive language training and enhancement course in 2010.

Each Operational Detachment Alpha, or Special Forces team, enrolls one team member in each scheduled course to ensure proficiency is maintained in their respective target language. The course is designed to increase each Soldier’s listening comprehension and speaking proficiency as assessed by the Oral Proficiency Interview, the assessment mechanism for language ability.

The curriculum incorporates more than 750 hours of classroom and out-of-classroom language training, cultural awareness and other activities for each Soldier enrolled in the class.

As part of the out-of-classroom training, students participate in field trips to native-owned, target-language businesses such as restaurants and market places in the surrounding area. Students also review current and past topics of learning in real settings such as museums, department stores, parks and other relevant places to practice. The initiative also requires Green Berets to speak in their target language while conducting their quarterly airborne operations and monthly demolition proficiency training.

During 2011, the 5th SFG (A) trained 514 Green Berets in the Group’s core languages of Arabic, Persian Farsi and Russian. It also trained more than 70 Soldiers in the contingency language of Dari/Pashtu.

“We are truly pleased that our Command Language Program has been recognized as the Command Language Program of the year,” said Col. Anthony Dill, deputy commander for the 5th SFG (A). “The tremendous staff and instructors are providing enduring foreign language training and services to the Soldiers of the Group, which greatly enhances the operational language proficiency and capability of our force.”

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