Fort Drum Soldiers Absorb The Culture & Languages Of Afghanistan


As they get ready for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, soldiers with Fort Drum's 1st Brigade Combat Team are getting a crash course in the language and culture of the country.

Members of the 1st BCT are learning key phrases in Pashto and Dari, two of the main languages spoken in Afghanistan.

Teachers from the Defense Language Institute are giving soldiers a survival guide of sorts.

The troops are learning commands and warnings like "stop" and "don't shoot".

They're also learning greetings, numbers and helpful phrases.

"It's very important to know at least some basic phrases and generally understand what the person is saying. I'm hoping to take this information back to my soldiers in my unit and teach all of them," said Sergeant Daniel Shroads of the 1st BCT.

The soldiers are also learning how to behave in Islamic cultural settings.

"You have to know the people you're trying to protect.  If you can't understand them, you guys don't have anything in common.  At least you can try to have their language in common," said Private First Class Sean Colin of the 1st BCT.

The three instructors are originally from Afghanistan.

Wahida Sahak moved to the United States when she was a teenager.

She is impressed with the soldiers' progress.

"Actually, they surprised me. They're pretty good. I didn't know they were going to learn that fast," she said.

The 1st BCT is scheduled to deploy in March and April.

Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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