AL-QUAWAYRAH, Jordan – U.S. Marine Corps reservist Pfc. Nadi Chams is a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and is currently serving as an assault amphibious vehicle crewman with 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division.
Born in Tampa, Florida, Chams moved to Beirut, Lebanon as a young child and for the next 16 years was immersed in his native Arabic culture and language. During his last year of high school, Chams moved back to Jacksonville. There he was contacted by a Marine Corps recruiter, who left a lasting impression on him. The professionalism and competency that his recruiter portrayed and personified the Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment made choosing the Marine Corps an easy decision.
While taking the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, a test that is used by the Department of Defense to test a person's potential to learn a foreign language, Chams scored a perfect three out of three in the Levantine dialect of Arabic. Given Chams’ skill in the language, he has acted as an internal translator for his platoon while in Jordan.
“I was able to utilize my skill quite well for the first few days. I was able to talk to the people that work on base and translate for our leaders,” said Chams.
Chams has found a sense of comfort being back in the region, not just visiting, but as a Marine.
“I enjoy teaching my fellow Marines and leaders more about Arabic, like proper greetings, the culture, and the foods,” says Chams.
Chams was recognized by Major General Paul J. Rock Jr., commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, for his efforts as a linguist for his platoon and the effort he has shown since joining the unit.
“Chams has exceeded all expectations of his platoon commander and company staff. In addition to his duties as a rifleman, he came out here and has acted as a linguist for his unit and for MARCENT,” said Capt. Benjamin Hanner, company commander, Company B, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion.
Once Chams completes his college degree, he plans on attending Officer Candidate School and has aspirations to become a Marine pilot or continue to lead Marines as an assault amphibian vehicle officer.
“I’ve been blessed to have a scholarship from the Marine Corps for my schooling. I’ve had enough time to do my schoolwork and do drills being a reservist. It’s been more than amazing,” said Chams.
Chams believes that being a reservist doesn’t take away anything from being a Marine.
“I like the sense of belonging that the Marine Corps gives me,” Chams explains. “I’m really happy knowing that people can depend on me in times of need and that the country can depend on me.”