DLIFLC Instructors become new citizens

Ten faculty members of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center became naturalized citizens in a ceremony carried out by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the Presidio of Monterey Sept. 5. Four additional family members participated in the naturalization ceremony, though they had automatically become citizens the moment their parents received notification. The process takes place automatically if children are under the age of 18. “The youngest person ever to participate in this ceremony was Ms. Zainab who is six years old. She was so excited about the ceremony and wanted to be there with her big brother and sister,” said Connie Trautman, a DLIFLC Faculty Personnel System staff member who helped coordinate Thursday’s event. “It is a great honor to stand before you today and congratulate you on becoming United States citizens,” said DLIFLC Assistant Commandant Col. Ginger Wallace, who read a short biography of each individual who received a certificate. Naturalization ceremonies are organized jointly by USCIS and DLIFLC each quarter because of the large number foreign instructors the Institute employs. Story and Photo Credits Story and by photos by Natela Cutter, DLIFLC PAO Photo 1: New American citizens pledge allegiance to the flag shortly after becoming naturalized at the Presidio of Monterey Sept. 5, 2013. Photo 2: Assistant Commandant Col. Ginger Wallace hands Zainab her naturalization certificate during a ceremony at the Presidio of Monterey Sept. 5,...

DLIFLC Korean students showcase language proficiency

Students of the Korean Basic Course at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center gathered to help commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice at the 11th annual Korean Speech Contest held on June 27. DLIFLC Commandant, Col. Danial D. Pick, praised the students for undertaking an endeavor as serious and difficult as learning a foreign language for the benefit of their country. Pick also applauded the teachers of Asian II School who make student success possible. “I would like to thank the faculty and staff who continue to provide leadership and academic excellence in the classroom day after day that leads to events like today and the graduation of 87 percent of our students at a 2/2/1+ rating,” said Pick. Command Sgt. Maj. Alan Pendergast, a 1988 graduate of the Korean Basic Course, commended students on their hard work and noted the contest was the highlight of his year spent at DLIFLC in the capacity of Command Sergeant Major. The dean of Asian II School, Dr. A. Clive Roberts, offered his welcoming remarks for the contest and gave insight into what the contest means to DLIFLC and its students. “These amazing and interesting speeches illustrate our student’s readiness in the crucial role they will play in the U.S., South Korea, and all of global security,” he said. The 12 student participants, who were able to choose their speech topics based upon three broad categories which matched their competency, practiced for weeks in preparation for the contest. Former dean of Asian II School, Sahie Kang was also extremely impressed by this year’s group of contestants and explained...

Presidio bids farewell to Air Force assistant commandant, welcomes new commander

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and members of the Air Force’s 517th Training Group said goodbye to one commanding officer and welcomed a new one during a formal change-of-command ceremony at the Presidio of Monterey June 26. The institute bid farewell to Assistant Commandant and Commander of the 517th Training Group, Air Force Col. Laura Ryan, and welcomed Air Force Col. Ginger Wallace during the event at Soldier Field. Air Force Col. Kimberlee Joos, Commander of the 17th Training Wing, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, who presided over the ceremony, said she had served with Ryan at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. at the beginning of their officer careers and “knew she was destined for great things.” Ryan was awarded the Legion of Merit for her outstanding service as commander of the 517th Training Group and assistant commandant of DLIFLC. The citation stated that her “work on linguist reclassification and discharge processes assured the retention of the best Airmen and saved the Air Force over $24 million dollars.” “Colonel Laura “Cricket” Ryan has been the exact right commander … She has superbly led over 130 permanent party staff and over 3,100 Air Force students during her two-year command, driving graduation rates 15 percent higher than the institute average,” said Joos, referring to Air Force service members who either attended or served on staff at DLIFLC, attended by all four branches of the service. In a letter sent by Congressman Sam Farr, and presented by his representative, Alec Arago, Ryan was praised for her work at the institute saying, “Col. Ryan has performed exemplary work in helping to...

Generations study language at DLIFLC

When U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Kuhlman in-processed last fall at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, Calif., he picked up a special 70th anniversary edition of the installation Globe magazine, and started thumbing through the pages. “On page 14 he noticed a picture of a group of Slavic folk dancers. The nice-looking young lady third from the left in the picture, Olga Vieglias, is Matt’s mother,” said retired Lt. Col. Jim Kuhlman, in an e-mail to the Institute. “I was a student of Russian at DLI from July 1974 to June 1975 as a trainee in the Army’s Foreign Area Officer Program for the Soviet Union and East Europe. Olya was one of my instructors in the course and we were married in August 1975 as I was beginning the course of study at the Russian Institute in Garmisch, Germany,” explained Kuhlman. Thirty eight years later, Capt. Kuhlman followed in his father’s footsteps, right down to the Foreign Area Officer Military Occupation Specialty, albeit for a different language and region of the world, French and Sub-Saharan Africa, where he has an impending assignment to Botswana for his in-country training phase. “I always had the idea of wanting to be a FAO in the back of my mind,” said Capt. Kuhlman. “I wanted to learn about different cultures and decided to apply to the program, after my two tours in Iraq.” After seven years of being in artillery, Capt. Kuhlman was assigned the Sub-Saharan Africa region that falls under U.S. Africa Command, one of the Department of Defense’s six geographic combatant commands. “I am looking forward to...

Rear admiral tells officers they need to be “elite”

The Navy’s senior foreign area officer and director of International Engagement, Rear Admiral Douglas J. Venlet, told a group of more than 80 officers at a Foreign Area Officer Conference that their job is to use their unique language and culture skills in order to build and maintain international relationships and partnerships throughout their careers. “We live in a globalized world. If we are not connected linguistically, we are out of the picture,” Venlet said, at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, Calif. “You need to be elite…Focus on the language you are studying now and get to that 3/3 level,” he said, referring to a high level of foreign language proficiency. “Study, study, study. Don’t settle for anything less than full capability,” he advised. Foreign Area Officers are a specialized group of officers from all branches of the service who possess a set of skills that come from a training program that involves formal study of a language, a period of in-country training in their Area of Responsibility, and attaining a master’s degree in a field compatible with their focus. Because of their expertise, FAOs normally serve in U.S. Embassies around the world either as security assistance officers or as military attaches. Venlet, a key note speaker during the four-day conference organized by the FAO office at the Institute, graduated from the Russian language program in 1974. Venlet told students that his FAO background led him on an interesting career path, which aside from “driving ships,” also allowed him to work at the White House as the deputy executive secretary of the National Security Council...

Regional expertise more important in new Army construct

The director of Strategy, Plans and Policy Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G- 3/5/7, Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, told a group of Foreign Area Officers that their future roles as regional language and culture experts will become even more important with the implementation of new concept called Regionally Aligned Forces that will organize military missions into five geographic regions over the next year. “You will be the individual who will be translating ideas between the support command, theater objectives and building partnership capacity,” he told a group of some 80 FAOs from all services attending the four-day long FAO Conference at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey June 10-13. FAOs in the Army and other services are an elite group of officers who have a special set of skills that come from a training program that involves formal study of a language, a period of in-country training in their Area of Responsibility, and attaining a master’s degree in a field compatible with their focus. Because of their expertise, FAOs normally serve in U.S. Embassies around the world either as security assistance officers or as military attache’s. “You are lucky to be here and train at DLI. The Chief is committed to leader development” said Snow, speaking about the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond Odierno. As a part of the Regionally Aligned Forces, units will now serve in direct support of the regional combatant commanders and are expected to participate in hundreds of missions that include joint exercises, partnership training, quick reaction forces, and humanitarian assistance. Much of the initial coordination...
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