Presidio honors fallen comrades for Memorial Day

Presidio honors fallen comrades for Memorial Day

By Tammy Cario On a day set aside for the nation to recognize those fallen in the line of duty, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center honored two service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in a ceremony held May 23, 2019, on Soldier Field at the Presidio of Monterey. Col. Gary Hausman, Commandant of DLIFLC, speaks at a Memorial Day ceremony to honor two service members who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The ceremony was held May 23, 2019, on Soldier Field at the Presidio of Monterey. (Official DoD photo by Joseph Kumzak) “With the hectic lives we lead today, it might be easy to think of Memorial Day as merely a three-day weekend,” said Col. Gary Hausman, Commandant of DLIFLC. “It’s much more than that. It is a time for our Nation to reflect…It’s an opportunity for Americans to pay homage to those who died serving our Nation and acknowledge the immense debt we owe them and the families and loved ones they left behind.”  This year, the Presidio of Monterey is honoring two DLIFLC graduates who were killed in action. Army Staff Sgt. Alexander Conrad was born in May 11, 1992 in Mesa, Arizona. Directly after his high school graduation, Conrad joined the Army as a Human Intelligence Collector. His first duty station was Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where he deployed twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His next assignment was to DLIFLC to learn French before he continued on to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). While on deployment June 8, 2018, Conrad was killed by enemy fire in Somalia....
Thousands come to Language Day and learn the international language of dance

Thousands come to Language Day and learn the international language of dance

By the Mission Public Affairs Office, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Over 6,000 people attended Language Day, an annual event hosted by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center held at the Presidio of Monterey, May 10. Tents with different country demonstrations and international food covered Soldier Field while cultures from around the globe were on display on the field and in the classrooms. Soldier Field is busy with visitors May 10, for Language Day 2019. Now in its 67th year, Language Day is hosted by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey. Once a year, the Presidio opens its gates in welcome to visitors from far and wide to showcase what the students here are learning in language, culture and communication. One of the main elements of Language Day is the stage performances, the majority of which are dances. If over 70 percent of communication is nonverbal, then dance is the international language that transcends all barriers. Detlev Kesten, associate provost for academic support and co-emcee for Language Day for the fourth year running, thinks dance is a way to show how much people have in common. “To me, dancing and music brings people together. You can dance along as well as sing along, even if you don’t know the words. That’s what brings you closer to the culture and to each other.” The visitors, which included students, educators and visitors from all over California and more than a dozen other states, were able to watch over 50 stage performances, most of them traditional dances. Because the instructors represent over 90 different...
The road to healing starts with teal

The road to healing starts with teal

By Tammy Cario In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the National Organization for Victim Advocates named Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center’s own Dawn Holmes, a sexual assault prevention and response victim advocate, Exceptional Military Victim Advocate of 2019, in a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., April 11. “I was overwhelmed with winning the award,” Holmes said. “I hope that it brings attention to what I do and how prevalent the problem is, especially in the military.” When Holmes arrived at DLIFLC in 2017, she already had four years of experience with SAPR in the military and 16 years as a victim’s advocate in total. Having worked as a victim advocate in the civilian sector and with the Department of Defense, Holmes has noticed a major difference between the two. “I can’t count the number of victims I’ve worked with, whether it be DOD civilians, military dependents or active military or veterans. But I can count the number of victims I’ve worked with that were not also victims of previous childhood sexual trauma. Only one.” Dawn gathers with DLIFLC and Presidio of Monterey leadership at a SAPR event to proudly show the signed Sexual Assault Awareness proclamation. To Holmes, this means people are using the military to get out of some ugly situations and improve the conditions of their lives. And they feel empowered once they join the military and discover all the things they are capable of. But, she added, the military can also be an incredibly stressful time. “Life-changing events are a trigger to trauma,” she said. With that understanding, it became Holmes’ goal to connect...
Thinking outside the box for your AFSC

Thinking outside the box for your AFSC

By Tammy Cario When you think of jobs that require foreign languages, air traffic controller is not usually first on that list. Especially since English is the international language of air traffic control. “English language is a little more concise than other (major) languages,” explained Air Force Tech. Sgt. Seth Norman, an air traffic controller and a Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center student in the French department. “Like in French, sometimes you have to get a little wordy when you’re trying to explain yourself. Whereas in English you can say things rather quickly, with one word meaning quite a few things. Time is of the essence in air traffic control.” Because English is the international language for air traffic controllers, training for a second language isn’t a typical job requirement. Instead, Norman found a French-speaking position through the Enlisted Quarterly Assignments List Plus, or EQUAL Plus, which is a portal where unique jobs for certain Air Force Specialty Codes are listed. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Seth Norman talks to a fellow student about the French language. Norman is an air traffic controller learning French at DLIFLC. When Norman got the call to say he was approved for the position, he thought he was headed to Paris, France. Instead, he found out his follow-on assignment is to England. “I’m okay with it,” Norman said. “I get to spend a year or so in Monterey and then off to Europe after this, so it’s perfect.” There are two French-speaking air traffic controller positions at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Norman’s position at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, is a...
A new old way of learning languages

A new old way of learning languages

By Tammy Cario If you were to ask the average service member, chances are they would not equate military classes with a flexible learning system. The military, perhaps by definition, is rigid with rules and regulations. The Hebrew classroom here at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center is very different. “In Hebrew, every class will basically co-construct their own learning path with the teachers,” said Yaniv Oded, chairperson of the Hebrew department. To illustrate, he pointed out that they use only two textbooks for the classroom. Other language programs, on the other hand, can use upwards of 14 textbooks and over 30 other required books. Oded believes theirs is a very tailored and flexible system that brings success. “If the students control what they are doing, then they are more engaged. They are happier, they are less stressed,” Oded said. Sometimes being in control and engaged is all that’s needed, he added. “You cannot force commitment.” While he earned his master’s degree, the idea to open up the rigid classroom schedule came gradually from a concept called Human Performance Technology, or HPT, a concept that was developed in the 1970s. HPT is a systematic approach to improving organizational success. “The key model there is instead of analyze, design, develop,” Oded said, as it’s done in a more typical curriculum, “it’s more things like rapid prototyping.” This means they don’t have one pilot model of a teaching method. A pilot has become political, he explained. “If you do a pilot and it succeeds, it means that others need to do it, too.” Instead, they use methods he calls initiatives....
Be careful what you wish for

Be careful what you wish for

By Natela Cutter Be careful what you wish for if you’re a Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center graduate! You could easily end up catapulted into a world crisis where leaders are clinging to your every word, making crucial national security decisions based upon the information you provide them. Such is the story of three Persian Farsi language graduates who in the summer of 1978 found themselves working on one of the most historically important political turning points in the Middle East – the Iranian Revolution. “We had zero idea what we were going to do when we showed up for work…Coming out of the Persian Farsi program [at DLIFLC] we thought we knew it all, but — we knew nothing,” said Michael Ruhm, to large a group of multi-service Persian Farsi linguists. Along with his two former classmates, Donald Huntington and Michael Sherman, and former boss Thomas Chesno, Ruhm visited the Persian Farsi School Feb. 21, at the Presidio of Monterey, as part of an alumni reunion, incidentally coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. “We went from knowing nothing…to the White House situation room calling and saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And we had to fall back on what we learned in Monterey,” Ruhm explained, remembering that he had received an urgent call at 7 a.m. to come to work after a long night out on the town. The political situation in Iran spiraled out of control and a religious revolutionary anti-Western group, led by Shia clerk Ayatollah Khomeini, overthrew the 2,500 year-old monarchy. With growing distrust toward the U.S., in November 1979 the American...
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