JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Approximately one-third of all international military members from around the globe who come to the U.S. for training begin at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland at the Defense Language Institute English Learning Center, known as the "Gateway to America.”
Since 1954 the DLIELC has provided English language training and services in support of security cooperation objectives. They also provide English language training to U.S. military service members whose primary language is not English. As part of that mission they annually train students from more than 100 countries.
In addition to the resident training, they also provide in-country training.
“The non-residents flight is responsible for sending English instructors overseas to train foreign military personnel before they come to the U.S. for additional training,” said Katie Carraway, DLIELC overseas program manager. “Many of our students have not had any exposure to English. So, when we send teams of instructors overseas to teach, often times it is to students who have little to no English proficiency.”
Instructors, either individual or in teams of up to seven personnel, are sent to approximately 40 countries annually. Depending on the training program, the instructors are in-country from a couple of weeks up to six months. After the in-country training, students may then attend DLIELC’s Specialized English program here to familiarize them with the technical terminology and specific language skills they will need before going to their follow-on training in professional military education programs at U.S. War Colleges or Naval Postgraduate School.
However, there is much coordination that happens prior to any of this training occurring, which Carraway is responsible for.
“As the overseas program manager, I work closely with the security cooperation officers at our U.S. embassies abroad, … coordinating training, and offering program and curriculum advice,” Carraway said.
“If (our foreign mission) partners request assistance, … whether they are asking for help for putting a book order in … or developing a training program or getting a team into country, she is the point of contact,” said Bernard Rauch, DLIELC Non-Residents Flight chief of operations and Carraway’s supervisor. “One of the projects she is working on right now is briefing general officers who are responsible for these major training programs.”
“Part of my responsibilities is to (also) visit those countries and conduct site surveys so we see the training facilities and get an initial assessment before we send our DLI instructors,” Carraway added.
To complete these duties, Carraway has gone to about 30 different countries during the course of her nine years with the military to include Mali, Pakistan, Japan, Vietnam, Brazil, Kuwait, Kazakhstan and Columbia.
“I have deployed almost a dozen times now,” she said. “Each (country) is unique, interesting and special for different reasons, but I love the opportunities to travel frequently and engage with our partner nations. It is always rewarding to interact with our partner nations’ instructors and students because they really need a lot of support with curriculum, testing and instruction. The ability I have at that initial level and provide recommendations before our DLI instructors go in, I find to be the most rewarding.”
Her passion for her job is reflected in her work and hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Katie is an invaluable part of the unit,” Rauch said. “I have come to trust her on many subjects. She quickly develops subject matter expertise in things like policies, deployment regulations, defense travel – whatever is related to the job.”
Rauch has come to rely on her and her expertise. Carraway’s motivation and ability to grasp topics related to the job and master them is what helps make her stand out as a star performer, he said.
“She’s outstanding in almost every area” he admired. “She’s an extremely hard worker and dedicated to the job. She is tenacious and gets problems solved.”
For more information on DLIELC, visit http://www.dlielc.edu/.
(Source: Defense Language Institute English Learning Center website)