Photos by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services
Marlesh Mbory elicits strange responses from Soldiers training at Fort
McCoy to deploy to Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
U.S. Army Soldier, teaches as many as 100 students in his hour-long
language class. He starts with the sounds first and gets the student
Soldiers to repeat them. And again and again.
Soldiers from the 105th Engineer
Forward Support Company repeat phrases in Dari, the primary
language of Afghanistan, during a cultural-awareness language
class at Fort McCoy.
a linguist, translator and cultural awareness trainer with the 1st of
the 340th Training Support Battalion, 181st Infantry Brigade, the
mobilization trainers at Fort McCoy. Students are given a list of 15
phrases common to everyday usage between U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi or
Afghan civilians. Next to each is the Iraqi or Afghan transliteration.
Soldiers also receive phrase booklets with about 100 more translations.
leads the class back and forth with the phrases, in English, then the
south central Asian translation.
class is important to the mobilizing Soldier because that Soldier will
immediately use those phrases in theater, while dealing with local
people,” Mbory said. “Those local people are very happy when they see
U.S. Soldiers learning their language and culture.”
was born in Sudan and fled to the Congo at age 17 to escape the civil
war in his native land. Speaking Arabic was natural for him. He came to
the United States in 2003 and joined the U.S. Army in 2007 and became a
U.S. citizen while serving on active duty in Iraq.
Spc. Marlesh Mbory (left), a
linguist-interpreter, leads a large class of 105th Engineer
Forward Support Company Soldiers in a cultural-awareness
language class at Fort McCoy.
was in Iraq, my speaking Arabic helped a lot to build a strong
relationship with and bridge a gap between Coalition Forces and Iraqi
military and civilians,” Mbory said. “We help Soldiers become familiar
with and better feel the language and culture of the country they are
going to. Then they are making great history for the country they are in
and also for the United States. Our Soldiers are helping to free Iraq
and Afghanistan, just like the United States did with Germany, Italy and
Japan after World War II.”
war is easy compared to winning peace,” Mbory said. “Learning, knowing
and using a foreign language, talking and listening directly to the
people in those other lands will lead to living in peace with each