Challenge 1 has been completed. Congratulations to Mr. Herry Syam Sectio for being the winner and for his insight in learning English through the support of the Indonesian Air Force.

Challenge 2 is coming up soon. So be ready with your articles.

Here is the winning article for the 18 February Edition:


Herry Syam Sectio

It is very interesting to see how our profession can affect English mastery. For example, I have served in the Indonesian Air Force for 15 years and have extensive experience in the language because of work demands. When I joined the IAF my English was poor but with good training and practical use, my English progressed rapidly. Here, I want to share briefly about how the IAF can improve English skills of its personnel to support their daily work.

In safeguarding the national airspace, airmen need to ready the force’s combat weaponry systems. Unfortunately, most of them are imported and this is why the mastery of English language for all IAF airmen is a must. The main machinery of the air force weapon system is the airplanes and the personnel directly involved in their operation consists of pilots, navigators, flight engineers, flight attendants, supply officers, meteorologists, air traffic controllers, radar operators, ground mechanics, medical officers, communications officers, paratroopers and military police officers. Every one of them must have good English skills to support their professional needs. Another group of airmen not directly involved in aircraft operation are military advocate, personnel officers, secretaries, drivers and researchers who do not require high mastery of English on daily basis, but they will need it when they are assigned abroad.

So how does IAF train airmen to master English? IAF has several English training programs for airmen carried out in several places Indonesia. Depending on needs, the training can be carried out inside IAF organization, in other National Armed Forces organizations, or even abroad. Basic levels are given for prospective pilots, navigators, mechanics and flight attendant implemented in profession training institutions upon the completion of their basic military training. It is included in their professional curriculum. For those who did not receive the training in their profession training, they can learn English in intensive English courses held in some air bases. In the three-month course, they are taught speaking and writing skills.

For airmen who are assigned overseas such as participating in UN missions or studying abroad, they must have a certificate of IEC and pursue further training in the Ministry of Defense Language Training Facilities. A course like this usually takes six months and focuses on oral communication: it aims at improving communication skills and spoken English in typical face-to-face meetings, especially when they need to convey thoughts and deliver speech in a clear and concise manner.

The Indonesian Air Force provides support for airmen who daily serve as English instructors to continually improve their skills. It facilitates the trainers to participate in overseas training which usually takes a year to complete and takes place in Australia and the United States.  I feel very fortunate to be part of the organization since I was able to build character and more importantly work on my English skills with full support. Most of all, I am happy to be able to share my experience and hopefully inspire others to seek the same opportunity.