Record attendance for language program manager's workshop at DLI

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Story by Natela Cutter on 09/14/2017
MONTEREY, Calif. More than 200 members of all four branches of the services and Department of Defense civilians attended a three-day Advanced Command Language Program Manager Workshop held at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Aug. 29-31.

The workshop was opened by DLIFLC Assistant Commandant Col. Wiley Barnes, who welcomed the CLPMs, whose job is to help linguists maintain and improve their foreign language skills and advise them in their career paths.

"Take advantage of this workshopbuild relationships across services and agencies, exchange ideas, learn from each other. Don't accept the status quo, things are always changing. Technology changes, the environment changes, and the enemy gets a votewe have to adapt," said Barnes.

The large gathering of military and civilian foreign language community managers and leaders served as a perfect venue to give awards for the DOD Command Language Professional of the Year and the Command Language Program of the Year.

The winner of the DOD's best Command Language Program of the Year for 2016 was the Navy Information Operations Command, Maryland. The award was received by the incoming CLPM Chief Petty Officer Vernon "Duke" Smith, who accepted the cup on behalf of the work of CLPM Chief Petty Officer Kate Greifzu and her commander, Capt. J.S. Scheidt.

DOD winner of the best Command Language Professional of the year went to Air Force Staff Sgt. Monica Helling, who works for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at Travis Air Force Base as a Russian Linguist.

Completely caught off guard by the recognition in this forum, in an interview Helling admitted that she was surprised by the announcement.

"I was shocked," Helling said with a broad smile. When asked how she decided to become a linguist, Helling said "This predisposition for languages came to me from my parents who are Polish immigrants, my brain in structured differently."

"When I joined the Air Force I knew I wanted to be a linguist, but when I arrived, I was given Arabic instead of Russian. Fortunately, someone heard me, and I was moved to a Russian class. The rest is history," she said. Today Helling is one of the top interpreters of Russian where she must deal with topics related to strategic arms reduction in the nuclear division.

By her side, beaming with pride, was Helling's father, Jaroslav Jerzy Fabis, a veterinarian by profession. "I knew that coming to America would be a good choice for my children. I am very proud of my daughter." Fabis immigrated to the United States in 1983 during a politically tumultuous time for Poland.

The 2016 U.S. Army Language Professional of the Year was Sgt. Auday Alamery of the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, Fort Gordon, Georgia, the U.S. Marine Corps Language Professional of the Year was Sgt. Kyle Morgan, of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Europe, and the U.S. Navy Language Professional of the Year was Cryptologic Technician Interpretative 1 Brian Blacher.

Finalists for the DOD Command Language Program of the Year were the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, the 2nd Radio Battalion, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and the 34th Intelligence Squadron, Fort Meade, Maryland.

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