Face of Defense: New Hampshire Airman Serves as Translator in El Salvador


Surrounded by the lush, green, hilly terrain of San Salvador, for two weeks in July one 157th Air Refueling Wing command post controller worked as a bilateral affairs representative and translator in the U.S. Embassy.

New Hampshire Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Kirsten E. Arends traveled to the capital of El Salvador as part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, which has joined El Salvador and the state of New Hampshire as strategic partners since 2000.

Under the SPP, the airmen and soldiers of the New Hampshire National Guard have collaborated with members of the Salvadoran armed forces in support of the Beyond the Horizon exercise, which promotes cooperative civilian and military relationships between the U.S. and El Salvador.

“I worked in the Security Cooperation Office at the U.S. Embassy,” Arends said.

Language Skills

There, she used her Spanish-language skills. She replied to requests for official training proposals, worked to ensure selected Salvadoran service members had appropriate clearances to attend specific training events and conferences, and coordinated with the travel office to book travel for these events. Arends also helped plan future New Hampshire National Guard partnership events in both El Salvador and New Hampshire.

Capt. Raymond R. Youngs, the New Hampshire SPP director, said the partners…

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