JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – The first five Coast Guard recruits to train with the Defense Language Institute English Language Center here are honing their English skills over the next 10-24 weeks alongside the DLIELC’s U.S. Army Echo Company.
The recruits, who speak English as a second language, arrived Aug. 30, and are in their third week of training. Once they are proficient enough in English to pass the English Comprehension Level test, they will ship to Boot Camp at Cape May, N.J.
Annually, DLIELC provides English Language Training for approximately 1,000 Army Trainees, known as Echo Company, whose score on the ECL test is below the required entry point to enlist directly.
“DLIELC’s mission is the perfect fit for the USCG’s new recruiting efforts,” said Col. Joseph Schaefer, DLIELC commandant. “With over 60 years of experience in training U.S. Army ESL trainees, as well as international military partners, DLIELC has the targeted capability to train students in a time- and resource-efficient manner within a language immersion environment on our campus.”
According to Emily Romero, ELT Training Specialist, the American Language Course materials are deliberately targeted at those English skills that will lead to English fluency and accuracy levels in a predictable, programmable time frame, unlike other language programs.
“The materials are linked to language requirements at the level of English that will help USCG students be successful at their basic training and beyond,” she added.
Led by two Coast Guard company commanders – the equivalent of drill sergeants – a typical day for the four male and one female recruits consists of attending class at International Hall, physical fitness, barracks duties, homework and studying. The recruits integrate with Army trainees for the duration of their training. The company commanders not only tend to the care and feeding of the USCG recruits but also share training duties and rotate into the schedule with Echo Company drill sergeants.
“Because there are only two of them, 24/7 care of the USCG recruits would be impossible without this cooperation,” Romero said.
Cooperation among the U.S. Army, Air Force and Coast Guard paved the way for the partnership and the USCG joining Echo Company. The USCG’s plan is to send 30 recruits through the program this year, followed by 30-50 in subsequent years.
The Air Force is the Department of Defense executive agent for English language training for about 110 allied partners and nations. DLIELC is aligned under the 37th Training Wing and executes this responsibility for the Air Force. The training enhances security cooperation initiatives by building understanding and trust through communication and language. Additionally, the U.S. Army and Coast Guard students sharing classrooms with international students promotes building relationships prior to their respective follow-on-training. DLIELC is often the first stop within the United States for International Military Students who will move on to various U.S. Armed Forces locations for follow-on training in their specialties.