Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
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
QUANTICO MARINE CORPS BASE, Virginia -- Textron Systems is working with the Navy to turn a mine-sweeping unmanned surface vessel designed to work with Littoral Combat Ships into a mine-hunting craft armed with Hellfire missiles and a .50-caliber machine gun.
Textron displayed the proof-of-concept, surface-warfare mission package designed for the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) at Modern Day Marine 2019.
"It's a huge capability," Wayne Prender, senior vice president for Applied Technologies and Advanced Programs at Textron Systems, told Military.com on Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs put on leave an Atlanta-based administrator and reassigned the region's chief medical officer and seven other staff members while it investigates the treatment of a veteran under its care.
Joel Marrable's daughter discovered more than 100 ant bites on her father when she visited him in early September.
The daughter, Laquna Ross, told Channel 2 Action News: "His room had ants, the ceiling, the walls, the beds. They were everywhere. The staff member says to me, 'When we walked in here, we thought Mr. Marrable was dead. We thought he wasn't even alive, because the ants were all over him.'"
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A former U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for having sexual contact with a 14-year-old Oceanside girl in 2017, federal prosecutors in San Diego said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.
After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.
But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.
That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.
After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.