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10 Things Only Military Linguists Will Understand
The Defense Language Institute — or simply DLI to the many Department of Defense service members and civilians who have gone through foreign language training — is renowned for being one of the most prestigious and rigorous language schools in the entire world. Every year, thousands attempt to make it through the exhaustive 26 to 64-week courses, which consist of five days a week of in-class foreign language study that lasts seven hours a day — plus two to three hours of homework per night. The formidable 98% native speaker instructor cadre teach over two dozen languages at the Defense Language Institute, and due to the extreme difficulty of the programs, student pass rates are dismal.
Most military, veterans, and intelligence community members know exactly what DLI is, and can probably even tell you about the infamously high washout rates, the intensely long training, and the squirrelly jobs linguists get into after they graduate.
However, the following list is a collection of things that you probably won’t appreciate unless you’ve experienced the Defense Language Institute in full force. Here are 10 things only those who have attended will understand.
1. You remember the familiar call of the sea lions in the morning.
No matter if you're down on Soldier’s Field, or up at Belas Hall dining facility, the guttural cries from angsty sea lions can be heard with an uncanny distinctness.
2. You have heard about the “firehose” concept countless times.
As soon as you stepped off that bus onto the Presidio, you were warned that learning a language at the Defense Language Institute was like drinking from a firehose — it’s going to be painful, you’ll never manage to retain everything that’s thrown at you, but you’ll absorb way more than anyone trying at normal speed.
3. You know all the terrible nicknames for DLI.
“Desperate Love Institute” is one of DLI’s many nicknames due to an overwhelmingly high rate of tech-school marriages that occur during the year or so spent in Monterey. Rumor has it that DLI has the highest rate of tech-school marriages, and Goodfellow Air Force Base (the follow-on assignment for most DLI students) has the highest rate of divorces.
Screengrab from YouTube
4. You’ve had a DLAB dick-measuring contest or the “my language is more difficult than yours” argument.
The Defense Language Aptitude Battery is the test that earned you your seat at DLI. The test — which measures your ability to learn and attempt to understand a made-up language — was a source a pride for many service members, who would inanely brag about their scores.
And we get it — Chinese doesn’t have an alphabet, and Pashto has obliques.
5. You trust the sacred legend of the eagle statue.
The ancient DLI folklore of the bronze eagle statue has been passed down for generations. Legend has it that if any student leaves DLI still a virgin, the eagle statue will fly away. To this day, the eagle perches proudly on its post, confirming that no one leaves DLI without — at the very least — having a one-night stand with someone they met at The Brit.
6. You know why the LARP embargo exists.
According to many members of DLI leadership, live-action role play was banned on post because some people pretended they were vampires and bit passersby as they walked along the trail to the PX.
7. You know, love, and will forever cherish the memory of Compagno’s Deli.
Screengrab from YouTube
8. You believed (and spread) the rumor about successfully putting a reflective belt on a deer.
Many troops who had been at DLI for eons would tell the newcomers that if you manage to put a sexy/glow/reflective PT belt on a deer, you’re instantly awarded phase graduate — and DLI immortality.
9. You’ve done a Walk of Shame up Franklin Street after a night at the Mucky Duck.
You don’t remember what happened that night. You don’t remember all of the crazy things that you did. But you remember the sobering walk up Franklin after a night of debauchery at the Duck.
10. You still have dreams in foreign languages.
How is it that we always speak better Farsi when we’re asleep?
Screengrab from YouTube
At least one Air Force base is on the lookout for a sinister new threat: angry men who can't get laid.
Personnel at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland were recently treated to a threat brief regarding an "increase in nationwide activity" by self-described "incels," members of an online subculture of "involuntary celibacy" who adopt an ideology of misogyny, mistrust of women, and violence in response to their failed attempts at romantic relationships.
The brief was first made public via a screenshot posted to the popular Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page on Tuesday. An Air Force spokesman confirmed the authenticity of the screenshot to Task & Purpose.
"The screenshot was taken from a Joint Base Andrews Intel brief created following basic threat analysis on an increase in nationwide activity by the group," 11th Wing spokesman Aletha Frost told Task & Purpose in an email.
A Navy installation blasted 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at high volume for 3 days straight, scaring the crap out of its neighbors
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At first, people wondered if the booming sound paid tribute to Flag Day, June 14. Seal Beach neighbors bordering Los Alamitos assumed the music was coming from the nearby Joint Forces Training Base.
But then it happened again Sunday. And Monday. Folks took to the Nextdoor social media app seeking an answer to the mystery.
Key witness says Eddie Gallagher stabbed wounded ISIS fighter in the neck but does not remember specifics
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The main thing to remember about Navy SEAL Chief Craig Miller's testimony on Wednesday is that he didn't seem to remember a lot.
Miller, considered a key witness in the trial of Chief Eddie Gallagher, testified that he saw his former platoon chief stab the wounded ISIS fighter but was unable to recall a number of details surrounding that event. Gallagher is accused of murdering the wounded fighter and separately firing on innocent civilians during a deployment to Mosul, Iraq in 2017. He has pleaded not guilty.
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In early morning testimony, former Special Operator 1st Class Dylan Dille told a packed courtroom that he had heard the phrase during unit training before the men of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2017.
Navy SEAL under investigation for allegedly manipulating (and hitting on) the widow of the Green Beret he helped kill
A Navy SEAL sentenced to one year in prison for the death of Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar is under investigation for allegedly flirting with Melgar's widow while using a false name and trying to persuade her that he and another SEAL accused of killing her husband were "really good guys," according to the Washington Post.