An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.













NEWS | June 17, 2016

An American in Poland: U.S. Army Reserve soldier serves as unit translator for Exercise Anakonda 2016

By Timothy Hale U.S. Army Reserve Command

The soldier in this article is not related to the author by the same last name.

DRAWSKO POMORSKIE TRAINING AREA, Poland – For U.S. Army Reserve Pfc. James Hale, coming to Poland for Exercise Anakonda 2016 was like coming home.

Hale, a Transportation Management Coordinator with the 3882nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, has been serving as a Polish translator for U.S. Army Reserve soldiers participating in the Polish-led, joint multinational exercise. When he found out the unit was coming to Poland, he jumped at the chance to participate in Anakonda.

“I don’t have any Polish heritage but my parents, who are missionaries, moved to Poland over 20 years ago,” Hale said. “I was born in Lublin, Poland but my parents moved around for their mission work. They still live in Poland – about 10 minutes from here.”

Hale grew up in Poland, attended and graduated from a Polish high school, then moved to Washington to join the U.S. Army Reserve two years ago. He is currently attending college in Washington, enrolled in ROTC at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington.

Serving as the unit translator has been a rewarding experience for not only Hale but the unit’s soldiers. He has taken them to different locations away from the training area and shared the sights, sounds, tastes of Poland with them.

“They’ve absolutely loved it!” Hale said emphatically. “Poland is over 1,000 years old, created in 977. The fact that Poland is four times older than the United States blows their minds. And the food is really good so they get away from field food to get really good, Polish food.”

Hale said that being in a country where the soldiers can’t read the signs or understand the culture can put them out of their comfort zone. But, he said they have jumped right in to learning as much as they can.

His command of the Polish language has made many locals take notice – trying to figure out how an American is so fluent in their native language.

“It’s always fun walking up to somebody in an American uniform and start talking Polish,” he said. “It always takes them off guard. Then they want to know the story.”

He said that he has enjoyed being back in Poland and sharing his experiences of growing up with fellow soldiers. But, he said the greatest benefit is closer to home.

“I’ll get to see my parents this weekend,” he said.