DLIFLC honors its Nisei roots

DLIFLC honors its Nisei roots

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   SAN FRANCISCO – Marking the second anniversary of the opening of the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center on Crissy Field in San Francisco, veterans, their families and guests gathered together to mark Veterans Day on Nov. 14. “Without you, the Nisei veterans, there would be no Defense Language Institute,” said guest speaker, Col. Phillip Deppert, commandant of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California. “I am here to thank you personally, from the bottom of my heart, for the things you have done in the service of this great nation.” DLIFLC in fact traces its history to the eve of World War II when the Army decided to establish a secret language school with soldiers of Japanese descent, called Nisei. Numbering around 60, the second generation Japanese-Americans undertook language studies just five weeks before Pearl Harbor, in an abandoned aircraft hangar at the Presidio of San Francisco on Nov. 1, 1941. “These brave Soldiers not only fought like lions and used their language skills, but they had a strategic impact – interpreting for generals, working the peace negotiations, or as court translators during the post-war trials,” said Deppert. Stressing the importance of the Nisei role during the humble beginnings of the institute that is today located at the Presidio of Monterey, Deppert spoke about their legacy in the creation of what is the largest foreign language school in the United States. “We have come a long way from our modest beginnings here in 1941…Today, we teach 23 resident languages with the capacity to instruct another 65 through our...
Determination leads teacher to DLIFLC

Determination leads teacher to DLIFLC

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Zhijian “Kevin” Yang has been teaching at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center’s Asian School I since 2007, but his story begins during the days of China’s Cultural Revolution in the mid 1960’s, in Hohhot, the capital city of China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. “It was very cold and there were not many trees,” Yang said, with a laugh as he recalled his childhood days in Hohhot. “It was almost desert-like, but we lived in the city so it wasn’t what a lot of people think of Mongolia – herdsmen, cattle, and horses.” Yang grew up in a bicultural, bilingual family with his father being ethnic Mongolian and his mother a Han Chinese. As such, they were given a choice of which school to attend. The family chose the more beneficial option, which was the Mandarin school, as opposed to the Mongolian school. As a result, Yang speaks only Chinese. Both of Yang’s parents worked. His mother was a doctor of internal medicine and his father was employed by the government as a public prosecutor. “In America, people think that we must have had a lot of money with a lawyer dad and doctor mother, but that was not always the case,” said Yang. “It wasn’t a luxurious life but it was a decent life.” One of the most difficult times for Yang, when he was about 15 to 16 years old, was when his father was placed under house arrest for more than a year at his workplace during the Cultural Revolution that took place from 1966...
Retired general says DLIFLC experience influenced 40-year career

Retired general says DLIFLC experience influenced 40-year career

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, a 1976 Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center graduate in Russian, spoke to current Russian students at the institute’s European and Latin American School Oct. 23. Adkins retired from the Army National Guard as the 28th adjutant general of Maryland and served just four days short of 40 years. Throughout that time he says that his DLIFLC experience has influenced him for most of his career. “Now, it’s hard to believe that it’s been 40 years since my class was here and (that I) sat where you are today. In October 1975, we would have been halfway through our Russian program. We experienced the same emotions that you no doubt are experiencing, from excitement to uncertainty, from frustration to fear, and we had a little fun along the way,” said Adkins. Adkins spoke to an audience of about 200 students about his experience and personal stories from his time as a student. He emphasized the lasting friendships he made with several of his classmates who joined him on the visit, as he shared photographs from when they were students. He quoted his class leader, Staff Sgt. Al Kohler, who said he was born in Pennsylvania but learned to “live” at the school in Monterey. “As you see with our class, friendships and bonds formed here have lasted for decades,” said Adkins. “Your experience here and DLIFLC will be a part of you for the rest of your life,” said Adkins. “In my case, DLIFLC was always at the core of my preparations for a...
DLIFLC team competes in Army Ten-Miler

DLIFLC team competes in Army Ten-Miler

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center competed in the 31st Annual Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C., Oct. 11 for the first time in 13 years. The team formed in a short amount of time as tryouts were held two months prior to race day. Capt. Sarah Martin, DLIFLC Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, volunteered her time to take on most of the management and training responsibilities as the team captain. “I’m very proud overall of the effort and commitment put in by everyone. A lot of planning went into this and everybody at DLIFLC has supported us,” said Martin. On race day, two runners came in under an hour. Derek Schnell finished in 56 minutes, 2 seconds and Alexander Branch finished in 59 minutes, 11 seconds. The team’s top female runner, Hannah McKenzie, finished in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 5 seconds. Since tryouts, all the runners improved their times, with Schnell cutting his time by the most at six...
Korean students celebrate Hangul Day with alphabet contest

Korean students celebrate Hangul Day with alphabet contest

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The ninth of October every year in Korea is Hangul Day, translated as Alphabet Day, and is a holiday commemorating the gift of a simplified alphabet from King Sejong the Great to his people in 1446, replacing complicated Chinese characters. “Being of foreign origin, Chinese characters are incapable of capturing uniquely Korean meanings. Therefore, many common people have no way to express their thoughts and feelings,” said the king, according to the alphabet’s historical account. More than 500 years later, the Korean alphabet withstood the test of time and is being taught all around the world, to include the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey, California. To celebrate Hangul Day, the Korean School at the institute held the 13th Annual Korean Alphabet Day Video Contest, and the best three videos were shown at an awards ceremony Oct. 8. The contest themes “Our favorite moments from studying the Korean language” and “Studying the Korean language at DLIFLC” allowed students to showcase their Korean writing ability and cultural awareness in a fun way. For the video entries, awards were given by Col. Philip Deppert, DLIFLC commandant, Ron Nelson on behalf of the DLIFLC provost, and Marina Cobb, dean of the Korean School. Awards were also given for participation in the 24th Annual Korean Language Writing Contest for Foreign Nationals hosted by Yonsei University in Seoul, who judged the entries. U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Samuel Vu won first place for a poem he wrote in Korean and read it aloud at the awards ceremony. “When I look...
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