HUMPHREYS GARRISON - 27 Republic of Korea Air Force troops successfully completed the first Conversational English course and were honored during a ceremony at the Republic of Korea Air Force Compound here on May 28.

The course is the first in what is planned to be an on-going series of courses supported by U.S. active duty and Civilian volunteer instructors from throughout Area III. The first course ran about six weeks and was staffed by 15 volunteer instructors.

"This is our first graduating class, and we're very proud of everyone," said Denise Chappell, Army Community Services Volunteer Coordinator. "We're very glad the students were able to learn a lot."

Chappell organized and set up the class with the assistance of the 7th ROKAF.

"Because of this English conversation class, we are making new friendships between Koreans and Americans," said Col. Lee, Chan-kyung, 7th ROKAF commander, USAG-Humphreys. "This is a great foundation to build on and I hope our friendships continue on forever."

The students were presented certificates of completion by Lee, Chappell, and Humphreys Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Jason K. Kim.

"I can't believe six weeks have gone by so quickly," said Kim. "Now, we not only recognize our graduates but our outstanding volunteers for their selfless and dedicated service to our community.

"Our volunteers gracefully give so much of their personal time and effort to teach conversational English to ROK Air Force personnel. I truly appreciate their time and effort to enhance quality of life for all our Soldiers, Civilians, and Families. This program has been successful, and USAG-Humphreys will continue to support volunteer efforts on and off the installation," he said.

Chappell said future courses will include both volunteer and ROKAF spouses and children during class time. This is good news for both volunteer teachers and students alike.

"It's very rewarding and it makes me feel like I'm here for more than my job," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Tomas Morales, a weather forecaster with 607th Weather Squadron, Det. 2, USAG-Humphreys. "It makes time go by fast, and it's great to build new bonds with our Korean hosts. I've really enjoyed it, and plan to come back and volunteer in the program in the future."

Reaping the benefits of the Humphreys Garrison volunteer efforts are ROKAF airmen.

"It was a very nice opportunity for me and for all of us," said Staff Sgt. Han, Min-kyu. "I really appreciate what all the instructors and Denise Chappell have done for me. At first, I felt fear when I considered taking this course but during this class, I achieved confidence in English conversation skills and have made new friends."

The next ROKAF Conversational English class starts June 11 and will meet every Thursday for six weeks. For more information about volunteering to teach Conversational English, call Denise Chappell, Army Community Services at 753-3266.