Provost award may open many doors

Airman 1st class James Jacobson poses with his father, retired Lt. Col. James Jacobson, in front of DLIFLC headquarters on July 12.

By Natela Cutter

MONTEREY, Calif. – As fate would have it, Airman 1st class James Jacobson ended up emulating his father, by going to the same school and studying the same language in Monterey, California, some 23 years later.

But on this occasion, Jacobson junior walked off with a Provost award, given to those who have outstanding scores and are in superb academic standing upon graduation. His score on the Persian Farsi Defense Language Proficiency Test was a Level 3 in Listening and Reading, and a Level 2 in speaking. Only about five percent of students attain this level of proficiency in Persian Farsi.

“No matter what happens, I always try my best. The idea is to devise a plan, set a framework, have strong moral values, and treat others with respect….and you will succeed. This is what I focused on… If one door closes, another will open,” said Jacobson, who also welcomed a new baby on the first day of school last year.

Asked if his father had something to do with his decision to become a linguist, Jacobson said that he always wanted to be able to discuss the details of his father’s job, but couldn’t.

“Now we can swap a few stories,” said Glenn Jacobson, with a broad smile, admitting that his son graduated with better scores than him but that his skills improved as he continued his linguist career, flying SOUTHCOM missions, becoming an officer, and working in several foreign countries.  “I was able to use my Persian with the Kurds and in Afghanistan, using Dari,” he explained.

Both admitted that living in Turkey, Japan and Germany probably had an influence on the younger Jacobson’s decision to move to Chile for two years where he taught himself Spanish.

“The profession called me. I wanted to get that experience before I go for a PA degree,” said Jacobson, referring to the Interservice Physician Assistant Program offered in the military. Before enlisting in the Air Force, Jacobson obtained a degree in Human Biology.

Though he wanted to study Chinese, Jacobson was slated to take Persian Farsi. Far from demotivating him, the young airman and new father took on the challenge with a passion.

“I was interested in learning the colloquialisms and idioms, and not so much (success on) the tests. I went to where Persian Farsi was spoken, learned about the jokes…and tried to make them comfortable enough to be my friend,” explained Jacobson, who said he used the same principle while living in Chile. “Speaking their language is showing respect.”

With so many talents, Jacobson is still deciding which direction he wants to go, as he also enjoyed studying the culture and politics of Iran. “I do love global politics as well, so we shall see,” he said, smiling.


Posted Date: 18 September 2018