9/11 as a career pivot point

Retired Navy Cdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein joins this week’s American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast with a riveting story about how the Sept. 11 attacks reshaped his personal and professional life.

“9/11 was the pivot point in my career,” said Aboul-Enein, who began his career as a medical intelligence officer and was just outside the Pentagon when American 77 struck. “It impacted me both professionally and personally.” (Check out the special 9/11 series on the 20th anniversary of the attacks.)

Following the terrorist attacks, there was “a dire need for Arabic linguists,” which presented a new career opportunity. He served as director for North Africa and Egypt; as well as assistant director for Arabian Gulf Affairs for four years at the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld; and later joined the Defense Intelligence Agency and retired from the agency in January.

“I have had the privilege of training thousands of men and women for assignment to the Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia, including serving as a graduate level instructor at the National Defense University and National Intelligence University,” said Aboul-Enein, a member of Francis Scott Key American Legion Post 11, in Frederick, Md. “Upon retirement from active duty, I continue to train men and women of our armed force as a contractor.”

This episode also features:

• Co-host Ashley Gorbulja’s special holiday bonnet, a wink to super producer Holly Soria. Check out the video version on YouTube to see it.

• The impressive record set during the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.

• A special Operation Santa Claus in Alaska as National Guard troops and children braved minus 25 degree weather in a roadless village.

This episode concludes season three of the podcast. After a brief holiday break, Tango Alpha Lima will return in early January.

Check out this week’s podcast and the nearly 160 other Tango Alpha Lima episodes available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.