MONTEREY, Calif. – Brig. Gen. Skip Davis, the new Deputy Commanding General of the Leadership Development and Education division of the Combined Arms Center, visited the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center campus and provided words of encouragement and advice to Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French and Italian basic course students May 21.
The purpose of Davis’s trip was to get a first-hand look at how DLIFLC handles the mission of training 3,500 linguists each year in 25 different foreign languages as well as the complexities of providing continuing education training and products to professional linguists throughout the Department of Defense.
The morning segment of Davis’s visit paralleled with a visit by Secretary of the Army, John McHugh. Davis and McHugh observed Farsi students conducting a roundtable discussion in their target language about the relationships between the Islamic Republic of Iran and its neighbors. Student translators were assigned to the visitors so they could follow along during the discussion.
According to Davis, the students demonstrated the importance of foreign language acquisition.
“You guys represent an absolutely critical military capability for the Armed Forces. You don’t really understand that until you get out in the field. You may never get to see some of the outcomes of the information that you provide. Realize that you wouldn’t be here unless there was a critical need for your capabilities out in the field,” Davis explained.
During his visit, Davis, who is fluent French and Italian, also visited the European and Latin American School and interacted with students during speaking exercises. Speaking with a French class, Davis shared the importance of the French language to the DoD in light of the growing mission in Africa.
“For those of you going out to Africa, we’ve got a big mission and a small footprint, so every single person on the continent is absolutely essential for understanding the situation and our ability to help our allies,” said Davis.
In addition to interacting with students, Davis presented Portuguese and Hebrew language instructors with Team Excellence Awards in recognition of their students achieving extremely high scores on the Defense Language Proficiency Test with no academic attrition.
“You really are the essence of our success here. It’s the faculty and it’s your humanity that reaches out to those students and makes them the best that they can be,” Davis said after awarding the instructors.
Davis also visited the DLIFLC Isolation Immersion facility where a Mandarin and an Arabic class were participating in their immersion activities.
“I have had the opportunity to audit several classes today and I am most impressed with your faculty. Your progress is first and foremost attributed to the great dedicated faculty you have here,” said Davis.
Davis, who is a linguist himself with a graduate degree in business and international relations from a French university, gave some advice to service members during several stops around the Institute.“This is a life-long educational commitment to yourself and the military. Don’t stop at the end of this course with developing your proficiency.”
Story and Photos by:
Story by Brian Lamar, Strategic Communications
Photos by Natela Cutter, Strategic Communications
Photo 1: Brig. Gen. Skip Davis, the Deputy Commander of the Leadership Development and Education division of the Combined Arms Center discusses Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center discusses non-resident products and services with DLIFLC Commandant, Col. Danial Pick, left and the Secretary of the Army John McHugh, during his visit to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center May 21. (U.S. Army photo by Natela Cutter)
Photo 2: Brig. Gen. Skip Davis, the Deputy Commander of the Leadership Development and Education division of the Combined Arms Center talks with Dr. Michael Bunting, Area Director of Cognitive Psychology for the Center for Advanced Study of Languages about working memory research during his visit to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center May 21. (U.S. Army photo by Natela Cutter)
Photo 3: Brig. Gen. Skip Davis, deputy commandant of the Command and General Staff College Leadership Development and Education division and at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. (sitting) takes the opportunity to try HeadStart2, a Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center 80 to 100-hour predeployment program, during his visit to DLIFLC May 21. Observing DLIFLC’s technology at the same time was Secretary of the Army John McHugh. (U.S. Army photo by Natela Cutter)