QUANTICO, Va. --
Success is sweet in any language.
Just ask Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agent (Capt.) Anthony Diaz-Rodriguez who graduated at the top of his International Squadron Officer's School class in Bogota, Columbia Sept. 17 thanks to the Language Enabled Airman Program.
Diaz-Rodriguez, assigned to Region 8, Operating Location-C, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., graduated No. 1 in his ISOS class of 16 U.S and host nation attendees and was the No. 1 Distinguished Graduate within his eight-member squadron.
What made his accomplishment even more impressive was all the course material taught during the six-week session was presented exclusively in Spanish.
"That afforded me the opportunity to simultaneously develop my language and leadership skillsets," Diaz-Rodriguez said. "I attribute the success to how well our squadron worked together as a team. It was an honor to be recognized by me peers and instructors."
Spanish was one of three variations from the United States Air Force Squadron Officer School curriculum, the others focused on Inter-American Relationships between the United States and Columbia, and Columbian Armed Forces challenges and sociopolitical matters.
"It (the expanded curriculum) provided a new perspective into leadership challenges and best practices from the United States Air Force and Columbian armed forces," Diaz-Rodriguez said.
Attending the course in Columbia enriched the overall experience for the OSI Special Agent.
"Taking ISOS in Columbia presented us with complete cultural immersion, giving useful context into how the political, social and cultural matters impacted the Columbian armed forces mission," he said.
Outside the classroom ISOS fostered complete social and professional integration as a valuable tool for teambuilding, by conducting weekly squadron morale events including a body tech 12K race and outings to historical sites.
Diaz-Rodriguez anticipates what he learned at ISOS will greatly benefit his role supporting the Southern Command's mission at 2 FIR OL-B.
"I gained unique insight into the inner workings of Columbia's armed forces and ongoing military engagements throughout Central and South America," he said.
Diaz-Rodriguez recommends ISOS to any agent interested in developing their foreign language skillset, but cautions the course is not for native speakers.
"The other (U.S. Air Force) officer in my class was not of Hispanic or Latino descent and pursued his Spanish language education starting in high school," he said.
Diaz-Rodriguez says any agent interested in learning a new language or fortifying a language skillset should join LEAP. Information about the program can be found on the Air Force Culture and Language Center website: http://culture.af.mil/leap/
For more information on the ISOS course, visit the Inter-American Air Forces Academy at: http://www.37trw.af.mil/units/inter-americanairforcesacademy/
IAAFA is negotiating to host an ISOS course in Germany, comprised of officers from numerous European countries.
"The course will be in English and is an outstanding opportunity," Diaz-Rodriguez said.
(Editor's Note: This story first appeared in the Winter 2015 Edition of Global Reliance magazine.)