FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Gunfire on a distant range and the roar of cargo planes overhead are the sounds usually associated with paratroopers in training. Now add to those the halting conversation between American soldiers practicing Dari.
"Nice to meet you," reads the English translation of a phrase written in the Perso-Arabic script taped to a wall.
"What is your name?"
"I am from America."
Since January, 64 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team have spent their days learning to read, write and speak basic Dari, the most common language among the people of Afghanistan, and delving into the country's culture and history.
The Army has taught the same 16-week course at Fort Drum in New York, Fort Polk in Louisiana and Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune will graduate its first class this summer from a 52-week course in Dari, Pashtu and Urdu, two other languages of the region.