As stated in the Department of the Army memorandum, the DoD Language Professional of the Year (DoD LPOY) competition “is designed to identify and recognize outstanding military language professionals and their accomplishments, as well as the critical role that military linguists play in supporting the warfighting mission.”

This year, the honor of the DoD LPOY award, as well as the Department of the Navy LPOY award, was given to Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Second Class Stephanie Reynoso from the N23 Department, Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Georgia.

When asked how it felt to be named DoD LPOY, Reynoso was humbled and very honored. “It’s been a great honor to receive the award. There were so many Sailors who were competing for the award. To represent my command for a linguist award is a big honor to me.”

Leadership empowerment is something that helped her with this achievement. “I’ve had a lot of leadership, past and present, that have cared for Sailors on their watch and have ensured that Sailors have kept up with mission and strived for professional development outside of the mission,” said Reynoso. “I learned a lot and would not be the linguist I am without them.”

Some of these notable leaders for Reynoso are Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Master Chief Ryan Hodler, Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Senior Chiefs Megan Lucas and Gloriana Jensen, Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Chief April Harmon, and Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) First Class Arthur Souza.

Reynoso joined the Navy on May 30, 2014 after finishing college at Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She always has had an interest in languages. When it came to choosing her language, Reynoso wanted something that she didn’t know how to speak already. Having an interest in other cultures led to her becoming a Persian Farsi linguist.
Along with meeting the Navy’s height, weight, and physical fitness standards, nominees for this award also must submit an essay as well as maintain language proficiency. Language proficiency is tested yearly with the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT); the minimum scores required are a 2 in listening and a 2 in reading. Maintaining these scores is very difficult and something that Reynoso says you need to work on continuously.

Reynoso hopes to continue working in the intelligence community in the future. She considers NIOC Georgia a second family. She has spent most of her career there so far, but would like to go on a ship to experience more of what the Navy has to offer and hopes to get direct support orders next.
For those aspiring to follow in CTI2 Reynoso’s footsteps, she gives the following advice, “Get a mentor and get involved in the command.”

Confidence is also important, with Reynoso encouraging other Sailors to not be afraid to put themselves out there. In terms of maintaining your language proficiency, she tells fellow CTIs, “There’s always more ways you can continue to develop and expand your knowledge as a linguist.”

Linguists are a vital part of the Intelligence community and the amount of training and time invested in their skill is extremely important. From initial training lasting up to 18 months at the Defense Language Institute, to yearly refresher courses, study sessions and on the job trainings, your language becomes a constant in your life. In order to keep up with the language, the job requirements and the ever-changing expectations from the Navy, linguists need to spend a good portion of their life outside of work improving on their language skills. It is because of Sailors like Reynoso, who has the drive and dedication to be the best linguist she can, that the United States Navy continues to be the world’s greatest fighting force.

NIOC Georgia’s mission is to conduct SIGINT, cyber and information operations for Fleet, Joint and National Commanders, which enhance the war fighting effectiveness of our Navy and the Nation.

By CTI2 Charmayne Glasman, NIOC Georgia