• Afghan air force pilot instructor Maj. Abdul Wodood speaks in English to his instructor during an intensive language course at Kandahar Air Wing, on Kandahar Airfield, Aug. 27, 2012.  Wodood, along with other pilots, maintenance airmen and an AAF fireman spend 30 hours a week in this class learning English as an important part of their job.

    Afghan airmen learn language of flight

    Afghan air force pilot instructor Maj. Abdul Wodood speaks in English to his instructor during an intensive language course at Kandahar Air Wing, on Kandahar Airfield, Aug. 27, 2012. Wodood, along with other pilots, maintenance airmen and an AAF...

  • Afghan air force pilot instructor Maj. Abdul Wodood speaks to his instructor, Sharron Hartt, during an intensive language course at Kandahar Air Wing, on Kandahar Airfield, Aug. 27, 2012. Wodood, along with other pilots, maintenance airmen and an AAF fireman spend 30 hours a week in this class learning English as an important part of their job.

    Afghan airmen learn language of flight

    Afghan air force pilot instructor Maj. Abdul Wodood speaks to his instructor, Sharron Hartt, during an intensive language course at Kandahar Air Wing, on Kandahar Airfield, Aug. 27, 2012. Wodood, along with other pilots, maintenance airmen and an AAF...

  • Afghan air force pilot Capt. Zabihullah (left) and pilot instructor Maj. Abdul Wodood (right) listen and take notes during an intensive language course at Kandahar Air Wing, on Kandahar Airfield, Aug. 27, 2012. The pilots, along with maintenance airmen and an AAF fireman, spend 30 hours a week in this class learning English as an important part of their job.

    Afghan airmen learn language of flight

    Afghan air force pilot Capt. Zabihullah (left) and pilot instructor Maj. Abdul Wodood (right) listen and take notes during an intensive language course at Kandahar Air Wing, on Kandahar Airfield, Aug. 27, 2012. The pilots, along with maintenance airmen...

  • Afghan air force maintenance commander Capt. Gul Ahmad (left) and pilot Capt. Mohommad Akbar (right) listen to instructions during an intensive language course at Kandahar Air Wing, on Kandahar Airfield, Aug. 27, 2012. The airmen spend 30 hours a week in this class learning English as a crucial part of their jobs.

    Afghan airmen learn language of flight

    Afghan air force maintenance commander Capt. Gul Ahmad (left) and pilot Capt. Mohommad Akbar (right) listen to instructions during an intensive language course at Kandahar Air Wing, on Kandahar Airfield, Aug. 27, 2012. The airmen spend 30 hours a week...

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Whether an Afghan airmen needs to fly an aircraft safely, communicate with air traffic controllers, or maintain and fix equipment, he must first learn the language of flight.

English is the language of flight used around the world, and Afghan airmen are learning to speak it fluently at the Kandahar English Training Center, Kandahar Air Wing.

The center is one of six in the country, and hosts several different class levels. Students assigned to KAW spend about 30 hours a week in the classroom.

"It's a full-time job for them," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jose Rivera, who oversees student enrollment and staffing operations at the center.

"If we fly, we need to understand English. Everyone in the Afghan Air Force needs to learn English," said AAF pilot instructor Maj. Abdul Wodood, who spent the last six months here learning English.

The center is staffed with several different civilian instructors with varied and impressive backgrounds.

"We have very hard-working instructors. They always work hard for the class," said Wodood. His instructor, Sharron Hartt, taught English for 15 years to students in 80 different cultural groups.

The Afghan Air Force requires that all of their pilots, pilot instructors, crewmembers, maintenance workers and many of their support elements learn English as a qualification for the jobs. Spoken air traffic communications and technical manuals are in English, so it is essential for these airmen to be proficient.

"If they can't learn the language, they can't do their jobs," said Rivera. The students have to maintain a score of 80 percent to stay in the class.

"This is a good litmus test for the Afghan Air Force. The guys who are committed are doing very well," said Lt. Col. Rex Saukkonen, 441st Afghan Expeditionary Advisory Squadron commander. The squadron oversees the English class, along with several other classes at KAW.

This class is a just a small piece of the training puzzle, but it is a crucial one for the success of Afghan airmen and building the AAF into an organization capable of communicating and operating without borders.

Page last updated Sat September 29th, 2012 at 04:01