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The Defense Language Institute

Been There, Done That

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Students at DLI

The picture displays a typical makeup of the students attending DLI at any given time. The civilian staff and teachers are in front of the military formation.

Official DOD Photo

By Trish, a member of our Message Forum

DLIFLC (The Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center) is located on the Presidio of Monterey, in Monterey CA. While the school is located on an Army Post, and is run by the Army, it is officially a "joint-service" school. The DLIFLC is the primary foreign language training institution within the Department of Defense (DoD), conducts full-time foreign language resident training, exercising technical control of nonresident foreign language training in the Defense Foreign Language Program. The DLIFLC provides foreign language services to DoD, government agencies, and foreign governments.

Now for the good part:

If you arrive at DLI right out of basic training, you're essentially treated like you're in Army AIT/Air Force Technical School/Navy A-School, and you are required to comply with the normal restrictions of technical training (See Technical Training School Restrictions in side bar). If you're Army, this means you're assigned to Bravo Company, Drill Sergeants and all. After passing all phase testing for phase four and five, you move to another company, based on language. The Marines, having gone through Marine Combat Training (MCT), are considered careerists, and have privileges from the day they get here.

When I say Drill Sergeants (Army), be assured that they're not the same animal as your Basic Training Drill Sergeant. All Drill Sergeants (as well as platoon sergeants in the other companies, and I assume the same goes for the other commands) are linguists, and have been to DLI as students at least once. Most of them have been Military Language Instructors (MLI). They know what class is like, and are very sympathetic to any problems you might have, as long as you are trying, not shamming or slacking off. But woe to anyone who thinks they can get away with things just because the Drill Sergeants don't act like they're out to get you! Standards are much higher here than in Basic, because they expect you to act like you know what you're doing, rather than having to be told every little thing.

For the Army, you're going to start out in B Co. The rules are strict. You'll have one roommate, the furniture must be arranged a certain way, GI Parties (cleaning common areas) every Sunday, no personalization of rooms except for maybe a couple of pictures on your desk or so. You won't have any free time to speak of in Bravo. All I did with the time I wasn't in class or doing other obligations was sleep. On the weekends, I'd stay in and relax. I was a real barracks rat.

Depending on your language, you'll move to A Co, C Co, or F Co after about 13 weeks unless you're hurt, (If you can't pass a PT test, you don't leave) a discipline problem, or out of class that quickly. You have to be in class or have a seat in an upcoming class to move. In the "gaining companies" you can do whatever you want with your room as long as your roommate agrees. Depending on how long you've been in your company, you can move to nicer barracks if there's room and you don't have any disciplinary action against you. The "up-the-hill" barracks for Charlie and Alpha have bigger rooms and a bathroom with a tub for every barracks room. In Foxtrot, everybody starts out with those barracks.

Once you move to a different company, (or in the other commands, get to the highest phase) life gets more oriented toward learning the language, and less toward soldierization.

If you're married (or if you get married), have more than six months left in your class, and you have reached the appropriate phase level to be allowed off base (for your service, see right sidebar) you are allowed to live at the Fort Ord Military Community. From what I hear, there's no wait for houses, and they're all three-bedroom stand-alone houses, some with fenced yards, some not. That's the only situation where Initial Entry Training (IET) folks are aloowed to live off post. If you're careerist, that's another story. The National Guard MPs who are on the gates are taking up a lot of housing, and they've run short for students. I know at least three E-5s who live in apartments off post.

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