Flight Lieutenant shares importance of learning many languages in defence

Squadron Leader Jessica Aldred spoke with two motivational Air Force personnel during Harmony Week this week (March 20–26) whose lives and careers exemplify the celebration’s ethos. One of them was Flying Lieutenant Jagroop Mangat, who discusses how being multilingual aided her in forming connections.

Flying Lieutenant Jagroop Mangat, an electronics engineer, has had various exciting employment chances due to his speaking four languages.

Flying Lieutenant Mangat joined in 2009 as a communication technician and later received her commission. Since then, she has been a technical and linguist on Operations Slipper, Accordion, Pakistan Assist II, Resolute, and COVID Assist.

She claimed that her fluency in Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, and Pashto is an asset that has led to opportunities.

According to Flying Lieutenant Mangat, “During Operation Resolute, I was assigned to a patrol boat, which provided me a fantastic opportunity to work with the Navy as a linguist and experience life at sea with cramped bunk beds, brief showers, and amazing cuisine.”

“During my three-month assignment, we encountered three vessels carrying suspected unauthorised maritime arrivals. As a linguist, I was responsible for identifying the captain of each ship and determining whether anyone on board had injuries or medical conditions that our medical staff should be aware of.

“I also had to interview everyone to get information for Australian Customs. I once conducted more than 60 interviews aboard one of the vessels; it was frantic but worthwhile.

As a follower of the Sikh religion, Flight Lieutenant Mangat is inspired by the gurus who upheld the Sikh principles of justice, equality, and service to humanity. She serves in the ADF to give back to the community.

She holds that each person brings experiences, abilities, and a way of life from their culture and that we can all learn from them and incorporate them into our beliefs to create a stronger community.

Diversity, according to the speaker, “makes for a stronger fighting force, makes for a more capable force, and makes for a force multiplier.”

Flight Lieutenant Mangat improved her understanding of her strengths and values to the Air Force while serving in Kot Addu as part of Operation Pakistan Assist II, supporting the humanitarian assistance response to devastating floods.

Flight Lieutenant Mangat said, “Even with the environmental challenges, sleeping in tents, subsisting on ration packs, and the increased security threat, I maintained our communication systems and offered linguist support to our medical team.

Before I was one of the significant engagement bridges between our medical team and the host nation community needing medical care for Operation Pakistan Assist II, I needed time to identify my strengths and values.

“It was crucial for me to understand that when you have a variety of viewpoints or backgrounds, you contribute a fresh perspective… and that voice can aid in completing a goal. It is a privilege to have served in the ADF, and I would do it all over again without hesitation.

Now working as a network engineer in Canberra is Flying Lieutenant Mangat.

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