JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
In March, Capt. Nick Burke, a 14th Airlift Squadron evaluator pilot and chief of standards and evaluations, was selected to participate in the Olmsted Scholarship Program. He will be traveling to Tel Aviv University, Israel, after attending the U.S. Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center to learn Hebrew.
According to the Olmsted Foundation Website, www.olmstedfoundation.org, Maj. Gen. George Olmstead was a logistician during World War II who organized supply routes through caves along China's rivers and helped rescue prisoners of war from Japanese camps.
"General Olmstead's vision and desire for military leaders to be educated broadly was inspired by his experiences during the war," Burke said. "General Olmstead understood he got more work done if he demonstrated he knew the language and was willing to participate in the culture."
The scholarship program, established in 1959, has been challenging military officers to become culturally immersed around the world. After completion of the program, officers are promoted to higher levels of leadership working with vastly diverse groups of people.
"The military is becoming more diverse and most graduates of the program become regional affairs strategists. They work in embassies, as attachés or advisors for combatant commanders in the geographical region," Burke said. "Applicants are required to apply for 10 countries in different regions around the world and I'm excited to visit Israel for the first time."
Being from San Antonio, Texas, Burke is no stranger to foreign languages. He picked up Spanish growing up and minored in Japanese at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He says he even knows a little bit of German.
"I first learned about the program after graduating from the academy and it's been in the back of my mind ever since," Burke said. "It's going to be a unique challenge."
Burke is looking to attain his masters in economics or Middle Eastern Security while in Tel Aviv.
"Israel is a fascinating and young country, implemented after World War II, which is a hotbed for political affairs," Burke said. "I'm eager to immerse in the culture and learn how they built and defend their nation."
After completing their masters, each candidate is required to extend their military service for three years.
"I hope to bring back an in-depth hands on perspective from the region," Burke said. "Whatever my follow on assignment may be, I hope, through the program, to learn more about myself and to become a better officer and wingman."
For more information about Air Force developmental opportunities, such as the Olmstead program, go to the myPers website.