Photo and story by Seth Maggard – AFCLC

Expeditionary culture training for members of any rank is a paramount focus of the Air Force Culture and Language Center. That vision is only accomplished with full accountability of premier training for all Airmen, including general officers. The AFCLC ensured that vision with its 2016 schedule of General Officer Pre-deployment Acculturation Courses.

These courses are designed to provide individualized culture training to senior officers and detailed preparation in language, cultural attitudes, and current events. The center’s staff make it a point to highlight these service members’ specific needs in country and provide applicable training so that their skills are relevant from the moment of arrival.

“There is a great deal of training to be completed before deploying anywhere,” said Col. Charles Corcoran after his April graduation, “but this is one opportunity that stands out. Every graduate that I have spoken to made sure to tell me not to miss this course and its amazing training.” Col. Corcoran attended GOPAC en route to the United Arab Emirates.   

Several cultural experts are involved in training each GOPAC student through rigorous hours of culturally focused coursework. The officers were introduced to language and regional analysis training from the first day and led to increasingly more advanced topics as the course progressed. The cumulative event of the course, the Key Leader Engagement, places participants in a room with a native of their future destination, as they negotiate important decisions and enact social mannerisms.

The event also presents the challenge of dealing with ambience, interruptions, and other concerns during their assessment. It is a real-time assessment of the acculturation that they received here.

“The training was a perfect mixture of subject matter and professionally delivered lessons that constantly built on my confidence,” said Brig Gen David Hicks, a recent graduate of the course.