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Dagger Point: Airman with Brazilian heritage spends first Air Force TDY in Brazil

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Adam Grant
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
Senior Airman Camilla Elizeu is a photojournalist assigned to the 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office. She has been in the Air Force for three and a half years and is a fluent speaker of both English and Portuguese. She recently returned from a15-day temporary duty assignment to Brazil where she used both her photojournalism capabilities and her ability to speak Portuguese to build partner relations.

Question: Why did you go TDY to Brazil?

Elizeu: I went there to participate in Cruzeiro do Sul, a Brazilian-hosted air force exercise testing air-to-air maneuvers, mission planning, airdrop operations, and search and rescue skills.

Question: Did your language proficiency help at all while there?

Elizeu: Yes, being able to speak Portuguese fluent helped a lot. I was able to communicate with the local nationals which led to me being able to execute the mission in a timely manner.

Question: Where there any challenging moments during your TDY?

Elizeu: There were actually, I arrived in Brazil early in the morning and got a few hours of sleep when I was awakened by a phone call. An Airman was facing a medical issue and needed someone who spoke Portuguese to go with him to translate on his behalf. I went with him to the hospital and began translating for him. Had I not been there it would have taken a lot longer to communicate about the issue with the medical staff and the Airman would not have gotten the care he needed as quickly.

Question: Did you ever think that being able to speak Portuguese would help you in your Air Force career?

Elizeu: Honestly, I didn't think that it would ever help. I think we often forget about or are unaware of some of the amazing things that we're doing with our partner nations in both South and Central America. Both my parents are from Brazil and it's amazing to know that they taught me Portuguese so early and that I was able to use the language without an accent during my TDY.

Question: Is there anything that you would like to add about your experience?

Elizeu: It was an amazing experience and I had a wonderful time. I learned a lot during my brief time there working with our partner-nations from South America.