JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
More than 80 U.S. Army trainees at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, are completing English Language Training, or ELT, without interruption thanks to a partnership between the Defense Language English Language Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and the Army post.
The trainees completed their ELT through a Virtual Training Team, or VTT, effort that began Nov. 9, 2020, and continues through January. They are members of the U.S. Army English as a Second Language, or ESL, program that helps initial entry trainees from various parts of the world learn the language that will take them to the next level. They normally accomplish this training at JBSA-Lackland, but were not able to travel here due to procedure changes related to COVID-19.
VTTs have become an innovative solution to COVID-19 restrictions in a school environment. In this case, it helps reduce the backlog of approximately 350 trainees awaiting slots for ELT at DLIELC. Additionally, the initiative highlights Air Education and Training Command’s commitment to supporting U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and ensuring the continuation of the Army training pipeline.
Carla Benson, supervisor of advanced English at DLIELC, was instrumental in setting up the VTT site at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. She provided logistical support, testing and student placement, overall program management support, orienting students and drill sergeant staff with Zoom, and best practices.
“As the current DLIELC U.S. Army Echo Company liaison, completing a TDY to Fort Sill was a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the various stakeholders involved as well as further unite our partnership,” Benson said. “This VTT is important because it allows us to continue the ELT mission with U.S. Army recruits.”
The instructors are all based at DLIELC. Through the current distance learning platform, Zoom, classes are conducted either from the instructors’ home location or on campus. The majority of instructors are currently teleworking from home.
“The VTT was a mission essential endeavor with our Fort Sill partners,” said Army Lt. Col. Luis Martinez, Deputy Commandant, DLIELC. “My appreciation and thanks go to all involved at DLIELC and Fort Sill for making this a positive course for our troops.”