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MARSOC ALC gradates first Dari, Pashtu, Urdu speaking Marines

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Ten Marines graduated from the second class of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command Advanced Linguist Course, inside the MARSOC headquarters building, June 17.


6/23/2010 By Cpl. Richard Blumenstein , Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command

The Marines are the first to graduate the 52-week long courses, which focused on teaching them to speak, listen, read and write Dari, Pashtu, or Urdu and the second class overall to graduate from the ALC. The previous 36-week long course graduated five Marines on Feb. 19, in French, or Bahasa (the primary language of Indonesia).

“Right now, our students are able to speak and communicate very well,” said Ahamd Sakhizada, an ALC Dari instructor.

The courses are intended to prepare Marines to meet the challenges of mastering the cultural understanding necessary to partner with host nations.

“You really can’t learn a language without getting into the cultural part of it,” said a sergeant with MARSOC who graduated from the Pashtu class. “A lot of the aspects of a language, especially in the languages we learned, come from the culture, from the greetings, to how you say good bye.

“As we work more with foreign nationals and foreign forces, it’s going to help develop a rapport on a level that was not available to us before,” the sergeant added.

The aggressive curriculum included formal classroom work taught by contracted instructors using the communicative approach, and a three-week immersion period within the U.S. where the Marines interact with a populous who spoke the respective language they learned.

According to Todd Amis, the command language program manager for the ALC, future courses will include Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, and Tagalog (the language of the Philippines). Additionally, MARSOC has offered seats to Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force to attend future courses.