Field Guides.JPGAFCLC Outreach Team

Culture-packed, pocket-sized, and free to the public, the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Expeditionary Culture Field Guides have been a staple in field readiness and training for the military since 2009. Nearly 10 years later, the AFCLC continues to add to its inventory in response to the Air Force’s growing requirements. Seven new countries have been included in this year’s field guide repertoire: Bulgaria, Romania, Libya, Somalia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka.

“We reach out to the different Air components and develop our field guides based on their requests and needs,” said Mary Newbern, who manages distribution of the guides, “from year to year those needs change and we change accordingly”.

The AFCLC’s expeditionary guides take the traditional military field guides and puts culture and language tips in your pocket. Along with the pocket-sized books, experts at the Air Force Culture and Language Center have developed an app for the guides that is free and available to anyone with an iPhone or Android. To date, more than 10,000 service members around the world have downloaded AFCLC’s app and are taking advantage of the new technology.

“It was designed to work without WiFi,” said Mr. Howard Ward, the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Director, “just search ‘AFCLC’ in the app store and it will download the field guides to your phone. They are uniquely tailored to bring any branch’s men and women into culture while they are immersed in it. We are always excited to continue to produce regional expertise training and education products to our Air Force. Our field guides are specifically designed with a number of uses in mind, but only one single operator: the Airman.”

The guides now cover 27 African, nine Pacific, six Europe, three Middle East (Central Command) and one South American location, totaling in 46 countries. There are seven more countries in queue. Users can select what field guides they want to download and save them to their phone. Deploying commands, training units, and simply interested individuals from around the Department of Defense can make requests to the Center’s organizational box to place orders for hard copies of the guides.

“We have had requests for as little as a single book to 72,000 guides in a single order to 5th AF in Japan,” said Mary Newbern, who manages distribution of the guides, “I would expect interest to boom with these latest additions, especially with no end in sight, and future country editions on the horizon.”