Find out how much you can qualify for.

The Interpreter

Myah Riggans, Navy linguist CTI, meets with teammates in Bahrain

Myah's Bio

Perfume wafted through the air. Aromatic spices in shades of turmeric, paprika and saffron sat in barrels, grains blowing through a crowded marketplace in a sandstorm of color. Myah Riggans walked from booth to booth in the bustling Bahraini Souk, exploring everything from brightly lit Moroccan lanterns to fine, gold jewelry. As the “Adhan” from the Grand Mosque echoed out across the marketplace, Myah looked up and listened.

Growing up in Cheyenne, WY, she never imagined her career would take her halfway around the globe.

Cheyenne is a small town. Myah grew up loving the rodeo, hunting after school and sticking close with her family. But part-Hispanic, part-Caucasian and raised by a Lakota Native American stepfather, her worldview was shaped by a unique mix of cultures that stretched far beyond Cheyenne’s borders. She always knew she had a knack for languages—so when a Navy recruiter offered her the chance to take a DLAB (Defense Language Aptitude Battery) Test, she was more than ready.

The DLAB is the test used to determine one’s skill-level at acquiring new languages. It’s one of the military’s most difficult acumen tests—not simply testing language comprehension but also the ability to translate based on patterns within speech. Myah passed with flying colors, earning herself the opportunity to become a Navy linguist, otherwise known as a Cryptologic Technician – Interpretive.

After boot camp, Myah went to CTI “A” School, or the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA where she was selected for the Farsi track. At school, she learned how she would not simply be a translator, but a supplier of cultural information to the Navy’s direct assets in regions around the globe. She’d always been fascinated by Middle Eastern culture and languages and found this was a chance to hone her skills in both.

After spending a few years stationed at bases around the United States, she was deployed to Naval Support Activity Bahrain—an American base on a tiny island situated between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Arabian Gulf. Here, she would use her skills in Farsi to provide direct linguistics support to ships, aircraft and partner three-letter agencies operating in the area.

Myah brought her husband and their pets from the States to live with her Manama, Bahrain in a home situated right on the coast. On weekends, they have the chance to explore the unique culture only found in this part of the world. They shop at the Souk, visit the Grand Mosque, ride camels in the desert and tour the famous Bahrain National Museum which houses historic finds from digs throughout the centuries. Oftentimes, Myah looks across the water at her view, wondering if it would have been this spectacular if she’d stayed in Cheyenne.

Myah is finishing up her college degree in Anthropology through the Navy. She’s purchased her first home in the Navy. She got married and found her family in the Navy. She refined her love of languages in the Navy.

So, when she heard the call to prayer echo across the marketplace, she stopped to remember all the moments in her life that led her here. It wasn’t luck that brought her to Bahrain, it was trust in herself—proof that going after a dream outside Cheyenne wasn’t as farfetched as she once believed.

Myah Riggans, navy linguist, poses for a photo at the Tree of Life in Bahrain

 

The Interpreter

Life in Bahrain

Strategically situated in the center of the Arabian Gulf, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a historic treasure of the Middle East. From elaborate dining to sky-high buildings to luxury shopping, Sailors living in Bahrain can explore all the culture has to offer. Visit the Tree of Life—an ancient tree surrounded by sand dunes, shop for gold and perfume in the famous Manama Souk or discover the history of the island at the Bahrain National Museum. Watch as Myah Riggans takes us on a tour of her home in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Cryptologic Technician – Interpretive

Some people spend their entire lives in the same corner of the world. As a Cryptologic Technician – Interpretive, you are not one of them. You’re more than a linguist—you’re a cultural expert, able to translate and interpret foreign communications. Defense Language School will fully immerse you into the language for your choice—from Mandarin, to Spanish, to Arabic to Russian. After, you’ll travel the world collecting intelligence in support of the Navy. CTI’s know ignorance is dangerous. Your job is to ensure we are always in the know. Find out more about life as a CTI.

Navy interpreter CTI Myah Riggans wears a headset in a blue-lit navy ship environment while translating Farsi at Naval Support Activity Bahrain

 

More Episodes

The Seventh Sailor

For some, home is hard to leave. Of the seven Hubbard children, Colten is the last to join the…

READ MORE

THE WALLFLOWER

Confidence doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes, it takes four legs to remind how important your…

READ MORE

STUNTWOMAN

Brie Coger dreamt of doing her own stunts. Instead, she found action that doesn’t end when…

READ MORE

THE ACHIEVER

Where you come from shouldn’t determine where you’re going. For one homeless teen, a Navy…

READ MORE

EL OYENTE

Some people find their purpose on the flight deck. Others, find it in faith. That’s what Justin…

READ MORE

Junior

Michael Benitez thought he was leaving family behind when he joined the Navy. Instead, he found…

READ MORE

THE WALK-ON

Some people train their entire lives to play Division 1 college football. Others, like former…

READ MORE

SELFLESS

To be a mom is to be strong. When this Sailor must leave her family to ensure their future, her…

READ MORE

LIFELINE

Leave room for curiosity.

It changed this Sailor’s mind about the Navy. Then it…

READ MORE

THE ASCENDER

Your past does not define your future—this is the principle of the life of Aric McGee. A…

READ MORE

Life Preserver

Can selflessness be taught? This Sailor has always heard the call to help others, but when he…

READ MORE

DIRT SAILOR

If you never leave home, you might look back and wonder, “What if?” Growing up in a farming…

READ MORE

THE DRIVER

During his final shore assignment on active duty, this Sailor spent his weekends at the race…

READ MORE

MOMMA BEAR

Continually embracing the importance of teamwork, this Sailor has earned the nickname, Momma…

READ MORE

MISS CONGENIALITY

Setting out to remain an individual, this two-time Miss Congeniality winner, and future Miss…

READ MORE

CITIZEN NO. T399836

Striving to make his life meaningful, this Sailor used his experience escaping a labor camp with…

READ MORE