JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The journey is just beginning for two United States Coast Guard recruits who joined U.S. Army Echo Company to study English at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
Seamen Pedro Juan Perez Torres and Madelin Germosen Santos attended DLIELC to prepare for and pass the English Comprehension Level test and attend subsequent eight-week basic training. They are the first two Coast Guard students to graduate from the DLIELC program. Both graduated right before the holidays and immediately shipped for training at Camp May, New Jersey.
“You didn’t quit. You stayed in the game,” remarked Capt. Warren D. Judge, commanding officer of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, as he spoke to students after the ceremony fulfilling his promise to attend their graduation.
For Torres, DLIELC taught him about different cultures and the English language, along with how to communicate and become a better writer.
“The DLIELC program taught me things that I never learned in elementary school,” Germonsen said. “Conversational exercises and reading books helped me learn a lot.”
“I want students to leave with a sense of confidence, pride, and excitement for the future. We are laying the foundations for what they will experience in recruit training and at their first duty station,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Scudder, Coast Guard company commander.
Coast Guard recruits are embedded with both Army trainees and international students throughout the course of their studies.
“We help students adjust by providing expert guidance and mentorship,” Scudder said. “That inspires me to give my best and ensure that recruits are ready to become working members of the Coast Guard.”
Torres accepted the opportunity to learn and serve.
“I want to be a better person, prepared for life, and I want to help my family,” Torres said. He eventually would like to study electrical engineering.
Their service will allow for new opportunities to accomplish future professional and educational endeavors that align with their values and that of the Coast Guard.
“I hope to be an example of a good Coast Guardsman. I am proud to be the first female Coast Guard graduate from DLIELC. I also want to make another mark in history by becoming the first Coast Guard DLIELC graduate to become a company commander,” Germonsen said.
Three more Coast Guard students are studying at DLIELC in preparation to test in English and follow in the footsteps of their fellow servicemembers.
“I have no doubt each one of you is going to graduate and be a rock star. You’re going to be that all-star that your families are going to dream of and are going to talk about,” Judge said. “Once you graduate from the Coast Guard boot camp, you’re going to become a public servant and that public servant is serving others.”
The hard work and collaborative efforts of trainees and the joint forces made this day possible.
“Seeing the students walk across the stage was a great moment that exemplifies the expertise of our staff and the perseverance of our students. This day represents, the possible, when leaders of the different services (USA, USCG, USAF) come together in partnership. DLIELC is proud to help the USCG increase its potential recruiting population and increase their diversity,” said Col. Joseph Schaefer, DLIELC commanding officer.