15 September 2011

Life for the Next Eight Hundred Days, in Three States

I talked with a PFC who also classed as a 35P linguist and contracted for an AD term of 6 yrs. PFC Lopes is currently in her 13th week of  intensive language training at the DLI (learning Croatian) and has 9 months to go before heading to Goodfellow AFB, Texas, for AIT. She broke it down for me like this:

10 weeks of basic, Ft. Jackson, SC.

Depending on language assigned, up to 18 months at the DLIFLC in the Presidio of Monterey, a military installation in Monterey, CA.

Depending on language, up to 15 weeks of AIT at Goodfellow AFB, Texas.

With an 8-year MSO (military service obligation), of which 6 are AD, we'll both be spending almost half of our AD service going through training.

Then, depending on the units we're attached to, we may or may not deploy.

Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center
While at basic, recruits undergo Phases 1-3. At the DLI,  which is run by the DoD, they are assigned to Bravo Company and proceed into Phases 4 and 5. Phase 4 is considered somewhat of a lockdown, to put it simply. Not as strict as basic, but some restrictions do exist. Drill sergeants are present here just like in basic.

During Phase 4, a typical day at the DLI starts at 0530. Reveille is at 0700, and formation at 0710. Classes run from 0800 until 1530. PT begins at 1600 until 1700. Mandatory study hours are from 1900 until 2100. Bed check formation is at 2145 and curfew at 2200. For the most part, this is how most days are. Morning formation, class for 8 hours, PT, study hours.

Phase 4 lasts 2-3 weeks. Phase 5 loosens up on the restrictions, and Soldiers may finally leave base, drink if they are of age, and bring up their vehicles.

According to PFC Lopes,  the pace at the DLI is fast the entire time as instructors are required to get all prospective linguists to become proficient in their language (and only have between 6-18 months to do it). But if you really want it, you'll get it.

-SPC Bernardino

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