205th MI Bn. holds joint language games

| September 30, 2016 | 0 Comments
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Spc. T. Puetzer, linguist, 205th MI, translates 30 English words into her target language.

 Sgt. 1st Class Thomas G. Collins
500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs

ALIAMANU MILITARY RESERVATION — Soldiers from the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade and the 25th Infantry Division, plus Marines from the 3rd Radio Battalion competed during the 3rd Annual Language Games, here, Sept. 23.

The games used three languages and consisted of six comprehensive events, focused on testing the competitors’ mastery of their target language in reading, writing and listening.

“The 205th MI Bn. Language Games were intended to challenge the linguists that are assigned within our battalion,” said Command Sgt. Maj. David E. Brasher, senior enlisted adviser, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde. “It was an excellent opportunity for them to compete with other language professionals from within the brigade as well as U.S. Marines from the 3rd Radio Bn.”

“More than 30 competitors arrived at the chapel to compete in this year’s language games,” said Sgt. Ilka Z. Luna, human intelligence collector and battalion command language program manager. “The participants were broken into teams based on DLPT (Defense Language Proficiency Test) rating and branch of service. Soldiers and Marines were teamed together, and those with higher DLPT ratings were teamed with those having lower DLPT ratings.”

The DLPT is a foreign language test produced by the Defense Language Institute and is intended to assess the language proficiency of native English speakers in a specific foreign language.

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Spc. A. Wilfong, linguist, 205th MI, answers questions after hearing a brief audio clip in Chinese Mandarin.

“It was important for us to pair the teams in such a way so that each participant could take away something from the competition,” explained Luna. “This way the competitors could learn new ways to study or new techniques to stay proficient in their target language.”

The competition forced competitors to use skills that may have diminished over time.

“Some of the events required me to use skills that I haven’t worked on in a while,” said Spc. Tessa M. Puetzer, linguist with Company B, 205th MI Bn. “I believe that most of the teams here would agree that the most difficult event in the competition was the impromptu event.”

The impromptu event required participants to think fast and develop a three-minute speech in their target language on a current-event topic from their target country, Puetzer continued.

“After the speech was prepared, we had to deliver the speech, and then my teammate had to translate it into English,” she said.

Midway through the grueling and mentally taxing competition, the participants and attendees were treated to sounds of the “shaku-hachi” (bamboo flute) and the “koto” (a stringed instrument), followed by a culturally inspired “potluck” lunch, including kimchee fried rice and other regional delights.

Rounding out the competition, the top three teams were recognized with awards and certificates.

“This was the second time that we were able to open the games to our joint partners,” Luna said.

Partnering with the Marines and other linguists from the 500th MI and 25th ID helped the 205th MI live up to its battalion core principle of being engaged teams and great teammates with our on-island partners, explained Lt. Col. James B. Cogbill, commander, 205th MI Bn.

“It also helps us to cultivate a linguist ethos of excellence, encouraging these intelligence professionals to hone their skills, which ultimately benefits our mission and our national security,” Cogbill said.

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Darin Miyashiro (left), Hawaiian native and teacher at University of Hawaii Manoa, plays the ‘koto’ and Christopher H. Molina, native of Boston, graduate fellow at the East-West Center, plays the ‘shaku-hachi’ while competitors of the 205th MI Bn. sponsored 3rd Annual Language Games enjoy a brief lunch period, Sept. 23. The performers played music from the competitors target countries.

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