Ocean Pines Man Works to Bring Afghan Interpreter to U.S.
Aaron Ferencik of Ocean Pines was only 17 when he signed up to be a Marine, but it wasn’t long before he was in the midst of the Global War on terror in Afghanistan.
During Ferencik’s second deployment to Afghanistan, he was an infantry squad leader patrolling the remote mountainous areas looking for improvised explosive devices.
In order to do that, Ferencik was assigned an interpreter who walked along the squadron for seven months. Ferenchik said those five months were only a fraction of the five years Jack, (not his real name), served as an interpreter on the front lines of war.
Ferencik said Jack would talk to locals to gain information about where the I.E.D.s were.
“He would tell me if they were lying,” said Ferencik. “He was kind of like a lie detector for me.”
Ferencik says, all the while, Jack was putting himself in danger.
Becoming an interpreter for coalition forces entails an extensive vetting period that includes background checks and polygraph tests. Ferencik said that upon employment, interpreters are promised a special immigrant visa that allows them to come to the United States.
Ferencik says the application for Jack took three years of bureaucratic red tape and, what Ferencik calls, a “shake-up” by a state department official.
During those three years, Jack and his wife have had to remain in hiding. Ferencik said Jack is a target for the Taliban.
Jack is expected to arrive in the US any day now. Ferencik has set up a “Go Fund Me” account to help Jack and his wife once they arrive here. It’s something Ferencik says Jack deserves.
“He’s a combat veteran,” said Ferencik. “He might not have served in the United States military, but we’re talking about somebody who saw more combat than I actually served in the military.”