FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. - The Noncommissioned Officers Academy, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, graduated the first-ever class of students who completed the NCO Advanced Leader 09L Course.

Seven student interpreter/translators graduated before those assembled in Fitch Auditorium, Alvarado Hall, Sept. 29.

The graduates will now deploy to various locations where their language skills will help the Army accomplish missions there.

The 25-day course the students completed is designed to train future leaders on the managerial and supervisory aspects of being an interpreter/translator in regards to cultural considerations, real time critical thinking and multilanguage mission support.

The students who voluntarily enter this military occupational specialty are native speakers of Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Pushtu or Farsi at the onset of training.

Interpreter/translators are primarily responsible for converting written or spoken foreign languages into English, and they specialize in a number of Middle-Eastern languages. Their primary duties include preparing non-technical translations into the target language, and performing sight translations from a target language into English.

In addition, they also perform oral interpretation functions; assist military contracting officers with local purchases; help with screening the local population at military checkpoints; provide interpretation assistance for public affairs officers during local media events and translate local newspapers or pamphlets.

The ability for a 09L to embed in an operational environment is an advantage due to their skill in detangling names, tribes, and affiliations which provides a clearer picture of the battle space.

Command Sgt. Maj. William Hedges, commandant for the NCO Academy, said, "This field and skill set is viable and relevant to our forces through the entire spectrum of Army operations."

Hailing from Morocco, Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria and Ethiopia, these Soldiers now call the United States 'home.'

With an average of two deployments apiece under their belt, they are ready to deploy again along with a message to share in addition to the skills they'll bring to the field. "We are Soldiers First, and key members of the Backbone of the Army - The Army's NCO Corps."