DLIFLC language students get a taste of Morocco

DLIFLC language students get a taste of Morocco

By Natela Cutter DLIFLC Public Affairs   RABAT, Morocco – Lance Cpl. Paul Smith never imagined that one of his most challenging language instructors would be a two-year-old. In fact, just a few years ago, Smith never thought he would be studying Arabic, let alone attend one of the nation’s most difficult military schools, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California. “While studying Arabic in the classroom, I never realized the concept behind the word ‘ball.’ Thanks to Riad, now I know that it can be anything that resembles something round,” said Smith speaking about his host family’s two-year-old boy. Smith returned in April from a month-long immersion trip to Rabat, Morocco where he attended classes at local language school and had an opportunity to be immersed in the culture. With a student body of about 3,500 military service members studying some two-dozen foreign languages, DLIFLC currently sends more than 15 percent of its student body on immersion trips and plans to increase that number gradually over the next five years. “I am deeply convinced that sending students on in-country immersions is critical to language acquisition,” said DLIFLC Commandant Col. David K. Chapman. “Students not only have the opportunity to practice their language but gain in confidence and are exposed to the culture, sights, sounds, historical places, food, people and way of life. This can’t be replicated anywhere.” For Smith and 10 of his classmates who traveled to Morocco, the trip was an experience of a lifetime. “There is no book you can learn this from, this is real, you can touch it, see it, feel...
California Medical Detachment changes command

California Medical Detachment changes command

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Col. Rex A. Berggren relinquished command of the California Medical Detachment to Lt. Col. Bill A. Soliz during a ceremony on Soldier Field at the Presidio of Monterey, California, June 4. The medical detachment, better known as CALMED, operates the Presidio’s health clinic for service members assigned to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language and the Naval Postgraduate School. In his final remarks to the detachment, Berggren quoted King Solomon saying “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” He recounted his fondest memories from his two-year command and associated them with a line from the King Solomon quote. He concluded by saying “there is a season to let go.” The ceremony was officiated by Col. Ramona Fiorey, commander of Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington. Madigan is the support organization for the clinic at the Presidio. Fiorey humorously spoke about the challenges of commanding a medical detachment more than 1,000 miles away from its parent hospital. “This command requires the strength of Superman, the agility of Spiderman, the diplomatic acumen of Henry Kissinger, and the commitment of Captain America,” said Fiorey. “Fortunately, Col. Berggren is a super hero.” Soliz, now the new commander, thanked the outgoing commander for his service and accepted the challenge of leading the medical...
DLIFLC students win in annual Russian essay contest

DLIFLC students win in annual Russian essay contest

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Six Russian language students at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center received awards from the American Council of Teachers of Russian for their entries in the National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest. Dr. Betty Lou Leaver, DLIFLC Provost, presented the awards to four of the students June 3. Staff Sgt. Arturas Karizskis won a gold medal, Spc. Aleksandr Didarov won a bronze medal, and Staff Sgt. Ilya Volovik and Staff Sgt. Almaz Jamankulov received honorable mention. “This is the only competition of its type in that it is not only native English speakers learning Russian competing, but also the best of heritage Russian speakers,” said Leaver. The contest is divided into categories depending on the source of the student’s Russian capability. All of the DLIFLC students participated in Category C of the contest, intended for students born to Russian speaking families but received most or all of their education in English. Volovik, who received honorable mention, praised his instructors for their mentorship and helping him succeed. “We couldn’t have gotten these awards without the great teachers we have here,” said Volovik. “The credit really goes out to them.” The contest included more than 1,000 participants from 68 universities, colleges and institutions. This year’s topic was “A very interesting day in my life.” The contest has been held annually since 1999. Students’ essays are judged by leading professors of Russian language studies at Moscow State University. Gold, silver or bronze certificates of accomplishment are awarded, along with honorable...
Naval Attachés visit DLIFLC

Naval Attachés visit DLIFLC

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, California, hosted about 40 foreign naval attachés and their spouses June 1. DLIFLC Commandant, Col. David K. Chapman, welcomed the attachés to the institute and gave them an overview of how DLIFLC trains linguists for the armed services. Chapman, a Foreign Area Officer and three-time graduate of DLIFLC, spoke about his own experience learning Russian, Serbian-Croatian, and Greek. “People often don’t realize how big we are, they assume that we are a single ‘institute’ or building, but when they come here, they are amazed by all the things we do, the capabilities that we have, and the number of military service members we train,” said Chapman, explaining that the perception about DLIFLC is often that it is a small school that only trains foreign area officers. DLIFLC trains approximately 3,500 service members in 23 languages, most of whom are new to the military. The attachés visited classrooms in the European and Latin American school to get a firsthand look at just a fraction of the languages offered. Defense, Military, Naval, and Air Attaché of Finland Capt. Timo Stahlhammar observed a Serbian-Croatian class and was impressed with the students’ learning, especially that they were so young and new to the military. “I didn’t understand anything that was being said, but hearing the students speak to each other I could tell that they were communicating,” said Stahlhammar. Stahlhammar commended the students and their instructor for their hard work and success. He encouraged the students to keep up their language skills once...
DLIFLC students to attend West Point

DLIFLC students to attend West Point

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Two recent graduates from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey, California, have been accepted into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Both students will begin their studies this fall. Every year, Rep. Sam Farr, of the 20th Congressional District of California, sponsors a reception held at the Presidio of Monterey’s historic Weckerling Center to congratulate students from his district who have been accepted to the prestigious academy. This year, Farr invited appointees, their families, and two DLIFLC graduates to celebrate the event May 27. “It’s a rough experience during the first year at an academy,” said Farr. “It’s good to know somebody else from the neighborhood and that is why we hold this reception every year.” Farr said the selection process was not something he did alone, but that he established a board of review consisting of military academy graduates who reside with his district, including DLIFLC’s Col. Ginger Wallace, the assistant commandant. Among those nominated from DLIFLC were Spc. Jessica Maddox and Spc. David Oh. Oh completed the institute’s 64-week Mandarin Chinese Basic Course and intends to study engineering. He graduated DLIFLC with a high grade point average and an associates of arts degree. Maddox completed Pashto, also a 64-week course, and intends to study international relations and computer science. She also graduated DLIFLC with a high grade point average. Pashto and Mandarin require rigorous study outside of the seven hours of classroom instruction per day. On top of that, both soldiers had to go through a lengthy West...
Legal assistance office wins American Bar award

Legal assistance office wins American Bar award

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel awarded the legal office at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, with the Legal Assistance Distinguished Service Award for 2014. DLIFLC leadership presented the award May 27 to the institute’s Legal Assistance Office representatives Darwin Strickland and Matthew Shelton. It is awarded for exceptional achievements and service while taking into account limited resources available. “These small offices of two lawyers and a clerk service a joint population of potentially 43,000, while their customer service rating was 97 percent satisfactory,” said DLIFLC Commandant Col. David Chapman, as he read the citation. Some of the efforts that the legal team made were providing training and educational briefings to DLIFLC students at convenient times and locations, posting informative papers on common legal issues on the Presidio of Monterey Facebook and website, and hosting team building events with experts from the Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission. Last year during tax season, the legal team filed over 1,600 state and federal tax returns saving clients over $300,000 in filing fees, and returning over $2.1 million in refunds. “This is testament that they are doing their job right,” said Lt. Col. Tiernan Dolan, Staff Judge Advocate for the Presidio of Monterey. The American Bar Association awards the Legal Assistance Distinguished Service Award annually to commands that have accomplished exceptional achievement or exceptional service to the armed forces legal assistance effort. The DLIFLC Legal Assistance Office assists active duty personnel and retirees of...
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