Top Army attaché to China gives advice to FAOs

Top Army attaché to China gives advice to FAOs

By Natela Cutter The U.S. Army’s senior defense attaché at the American Embassy in Beijing, China had a few things to share with newly-minted Foreign Area Officers who are attending a week-long joint FAO course hosted by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Jan. 14-18. “It is important to understand that what you do now will set the tone for your entire career,” said Brig. Gen. Robert “Brian” Davis, the key note speaker Jan. 15 at the Presidio of Monterey. The event was attended by nearly 150 FAOs from all four branches of the service and their spouses. The week-long course is designed to offer general orientation to the FAO profession for young captains and majors who just began their new career field. The course consists of workshops with guest lecturers who are experts in the field of foreign affairs and specialize in regional political topics, operations, and security cooperation. “It is important for you to know where you are in the world, which is completely different than it was 20 years ago,” when the global balance of power was roughly divided into two spheres, between Western democracies and the former communist Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc nations. “This is a period of increasing risk, of the return of Great Power competition…” he continued, stating that the job of FAOs is even more crucial today with the continuous changing of political and economic alliances. Davis speaks from 16 years of experience, having served in China, Thailand and Taiwan. He graduated from the Chinese Mandarin Basic course at DLIFLC 23 years ago and surprised his old instructors with his...
Spc. Lingo retires from DLIFLC, embarks on new mission

Spc. Lingo retires from DLIFLC, embarks on new mission

By Natela Cutter Spc. Lingo retired from the Army Dec. 6, after three years of faithful service to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center as the institute’s mascot. On the day of his retirement, Lingo received a certificate that officially absolved him of his duties, acknowledging him for his “exemplary leadership, dedication to excellence in participating in command runs, sporadic deer chasing, and devouring treats … while keeping with the finest traditions of military service…” “I am going to miss Lingo greatly. He is such a joy to have at work, especially when you need a break,” said Theresa Bowker, a staff member at DLIFLC, who regularly walked Lingo. “Lingo has been a fantastic dog for DLI,” said DLIFLC Commandant, Col. Gary Hausman. “I joke that he is more like a cat than a large dog … until you bring out that leash and his eyes get big because he is ready to go outside,” he said. “In the mornings, he sings! He walks around the front office and howls, and it’s fun to hear because it does come across as if he is singing.” According to Hausman, Lingo’s routine included walking around to ‘say hello’ to all the staff members as they arrived in the morning. When important visitors came, Lingo would be the first to greet them at the door and promptly follow them into the commandant’s office with either a bone or toy in jaw. “When I came to work in the mornings, he would enter my office to see me and give me a nudge. And not a simple nudge! He gives you a...
Brazilian Army Language Center officers visit DLIFLC

Brazilian Army Language Center officers visit DLIFLC

By Natela Cutter Two members of the Brazilian Army Language Center visited the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Oct. 22-26, to gain knowledge about the inner workings of one of the largest foreign language schools in the nation. Lt. Col. Sergio Avelar Tinoco, commander of the school, and Capt. Carlos Henrique Souza Vilas Boas, head of the English Department, spent a week in Monterey, speaking with their DLIFLC counterparts, program managers, instructors and students at the Presidio of Monterey and at DLIFLC instructional facilities. “Our language school is located in Rio de Janeiro near the famous Copa Cabana Sidewalk,” said Vilas Boas, “We provide intensive English courses for officers and NCOs who are assigned to work at Brazilian Embassies abroad and also instructors….who are going to teach at foreign military schools,” he explained, adding that unlike at DLIFLC, language teachers must join the military in order to be an instructor. “All of our teachers are Brazilians. They have (foreign language) college degrees and then they join the military. After that they have nine months of military training so they can work with the Army as language teachers,” explained Vilas Boas, pointing out the contrast to DLIFLC instructors who are mainly native-born. One of the key differences the visitors pointed out is that their language school does not have enlisted members in contrast to DLIFLC, where the majority of the students are enlisted and are normally first-time learners of the foreign language being taught. “Our process is different than yours. So, to go to our school one has to be already accredited in the language skills. He has to...
15,000th Associate of Arts degree awarded

15,000th Associate of Arts degree awarded

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center awarded its 15,000th Associate of Arts degree on Oct. 25, 2018, marking an impressive milestone for the Institute’s regionally accredited degree program. “Having this degree enhances our student’s academic and professional success as a service member” explained Pam Savko, dean of Academic Affairs. “Awarding the 15,000th AA degree in a foreign language proves that our students have an extremely strong work ethic. Graduating from DLIFLC is considered one of the toughest schools in the military,” said DLIFLC Provost, Dr. Robert Savukinas. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges first granted academic credit for DLIFLC courses in 1979. In March 2002, DLIFLC was awarded Associate of Arts Degree granting authority. Many students come to DLIFLC with some general education credits, prior college, Advance Placement testing, or even Bachelor and Master degrees. The DLIFLC AA Degree Office and Registrar help students transfer or validate 18 General Education credits necessary to obtain AA degree in foreign language from DLILFC. Credits must come from regionally accredited colleges/universities and authorized testing sources. DLIFLC’s regional accreditation was reaffirmed for another seven years this past spring by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and...
Korean Zen Master gives advice to students

Korean Zen Master gives advice to students

By Natela Cutter Most students who attend the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center don’t expect to meet a Korean Zen master during their studies, let alone be able to ask existential questions. “Being able to speak to someone who is so distinguished is honestly the coolest thing I have ever done,” said Airman 1st Class Michael Rikli, who was able to participate in a question and answer session in Korean during the visit of the Venerable Pomnyun Sunim, a Buddhist monk and Zen master, Sept. 25. The Venerable Pomnyun Sunim is renowned for his humanitarian efforts, especially in North Korea, the promotion of human rights, world peace, the eradication of famine, disease and much more. He has several million followers on social media, frequently attributed to his candid rhetoric and simple style in giving advice and replying to existential questions. “I told him that I was afraid of failing the test and wanted to know how to deal with those thoughts of failure,” explained Rikli.  He told me ‘Imagine taking a driving test and flunking it. Would you really want to be driving? No? Well it is the same thing. You take the test again,” he said as the auditorium with hundreds of Korean language students rocked with laughter. Often traveling to the United States to give lectures attended by academicians and government analysts, the lecture opportunity for Korean Language students and their instructors was an extraordinary encounter. “It is indisputable is that he is one of the most prominent thought leaders in South Korea.  As far as I can tell, his popularity stems from his longtime activism...
Korean instructors bring real life experience to classroom

Korean instructors bring real life experience to classroom

By Natela Cutter MONTEREY, Calif. – Nearly 20 years ago, two young linguists bumped into each other at Army’s Yongsan installation in Seoul, Korea, during a competition then known as the “Language Olympics,” a fun event that military linguists from all over the world would vie to compete in. Little did they know, after a full career as military linguists they would find themselves working together again, as Korean language instructors at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, employed at almost the exact same time and in the same office as civilian faculty members. “Back then, I was a Command Language Program Manager and we all supported the brigade command at Yongsang,” said Joosik Choi, sporting a red bow tie and a broad smile. As a CLPM manager, Choi’s duties included taking care of career linguists under his supervision, but also tending to much of the sensitive analysis work that involved using high level Korean. Both instructors joined the military in the early 1990s, deployed several times, and became warrant officers before retiring. “I enlisted in the Army from Texas in 1992 and then went on to do various jobs, including working at DLIFLC as a Military Language Instructor from 2001 to 2003,” said Young Shin, who retired in 2014. The experience gained in the field and as an instructor, in the case of Shin, is invaluable in the classroom, the benefits of which are yet to be seen; Choi and Shin just began their civilian teaching careers this spring. “We know how language is used to do their jobs,” explained Shin. “I can give students the right...
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