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DLIELC supports upcoming Puerto Rico Project Language

Air Force ROTC cadet takes aim during a field exercise in Puerto Rico.

Cadet Alondra Hernandez takes aim during field training in 2020 as part of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 756 program at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. This month, Cadet Hernandez is taking part in the Puerto Rico Project Language, or PRPL, at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Air Force ROTC cadets stand in formation.

Cadets in Air Force ROTC Detachment 756 from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez stand in formation before marching. Some cadets from this program will be taking part in the Puerto Rico Project Language, or PRPL, at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, in June 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- In 1975, the Defense Language Institute English Language Center began providing English-language training and cultural immersion to U.S. Army trainees who were permanent residents or U.S. citizens from English-as-a-second language communities.

Today, the United States Army Echo Company and DLIELC’s legacy of training military for success continues to inspire innovative approaches in how the U.S. Air Force recruits, trains, and develops its diverse force. A year after the 10 enlisted U.S. Air Force trainees, dubbed Echo Flight, graduated from the beta test, DLIELC is ready to execute an immersive training program for 45 additional Air Force ROTC cadets from Puerto Rico and various CONUS locations. This program – called Puerto Rico Project Language (PRPL) – will take place this month at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The training aims to develop the necessary skills to pass the Air Force Officer’s Qualifying Test, including the verbal skills and confidence needed to communicate during live training events.

“Both Puerto Rico Detachments have high STEM enrollment; highly recruited by industry (GM, NASA, Boeing), and can easily choose a different career path. Yet, they chose to serve. They stay in the AFROTC program because they know what it means to take the oath because of the Air Force Core Values. Cadets will face four years of obstacles in the hopes of meeting the Verbal/English Air Force standards to earn a commission in the U.S. Air Force/U.S. Space Force,” said Lt. Col. Angelic Gonzalez, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez AFROTC Detachment 756 commander.

Alongside its partners at the Jeanne M. Holm Center, DLIELC stands poised to prove the English language is not a barrier for joining the U.S. Air Force.

“The PRPL program provides an opportunity to deliver these cadets the tools to meet those standards – it gives them hope. In return, the Air Force will receive leaders who are not only bilingual but also culturally attuned to be able to work effectively with our partner nations. Officers who are diverse in thought also bring new ideas, innovation, and new ways of modernization,” Gonzalez added.

The five instructors selected from DLIELC’s permanent cadre of language training professionals will deploy with tailored curriculum that will allow participants to develop and refine skills quickly and efficiently so that they can continue on at field training, all the while meeting the milestones of their accessions timelines.