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Home : News
NEWS | April 16, 2020

Guard linguists support COVID-19 response in Washington state

By Joseph Siemandel Washington National Guard

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The past three drill weekends, linguists with the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion have supported the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic while training for their federal missions.

“After talking with the state limited English proficiency office at the Washington Emergency Management Division before February drill, we were able to identify a critical need that the 341st was uniquely postured to support,” said Capt. Pawel Pucilowski of the Washington National Guard.

One of the most diverse states in the country, Washington has a number of communities that are especially vulnerable to misinformation without access to guidance from authorities in their native languages. Between February and April drill, linguists translated 120 lines of text in 12 languages producing a total of 716 translated lines that required 332 staff hours.

“The translated materials included flyers with instructions on proper wear of surgical masks and testing guidance provided by Washington Department of Health,” said Pucilowski. “This past drill, we helped translate Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.”

Another unique aspect to this mission was that the Soldiers are also drilling remotely form their home. During the April “tele-drill,” linguists translated more material than the previous two drills.

“This is a testament to the work ethic of our Soldiers and the professionalism they bring to this mission,” said Pucilowski. “We are ready to support the mission during May drill and stand ready if any additional requests should arise.”