Saturday, September 24, 2011

Monterey Language Institute - Presidio

Dick Russell, in The Man Who Knew To Much wrote: The official record on Oswald makes no mention of his having received official tutelage in any language during his Marine years. However, at a Warren Commission executive session whose minutes were declassified in 1974, chief counsel J. Lee Rankin is quoted saying of Oswald: “We are trying….to find out what he studied at the Monterey School of the Army in the way of languages.”

California’s Monterey School, where Ricahrd Nagell had received his own extensive language training, was still quite active when Oswald was stationed in California in 1959...

In Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald
It is noted:

However, Lee Oswald wasn't trained in Russian, and his military file discloses no such training. Several of his fellow Marines recalled Oswald teaching himself Russian, and he apparently requested to take a written examination to test his knowledge. The examination is part of Oswald's USMC file, and no attempt was made to conceal it from the Warren Commission. The existence of the exam was voluntarily disclosed to the Commission during the deposition of Lt. Col. Allison G. Folsom of the Marine Corps's Personnel Department, Records Branch.(23)

23. Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. VIII, p. 307. There has been speculation that Oswald attended classes at the Army's Monterey Language School (now the Defense Language Institute), fueled by a statement of Lee Rankin, chief counsel to the Warren Commission, that the Commission was looking into a rumor that Oswald had attended classes at the school. The Commission investigated the matter and concluded that Oswald had not studied there. As author Gerald Posner notes, Monterey was not an intelligence facility, and its records show that Oswald never attended a single class there. (Gerald Posner, Case Closed [New York: Random House, 1993], p. 63.)

Apparently there are two Monterey Language Institutes - Monterey Language Institute
Graduate School of Middlebury College (since 2005) 460 Pierce St. Monterey, CA 93940
and the DLIFLC – Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center

The Monterey Institute of International Studies was established in 1955 as the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies by founders Gaspard Weiss, Remsen Bird, and Dwight Morrow, Jr., who envisioned a graduate school that promoted international understanding through the study of language and culture. While the institute’s name has evolved, its core identity as an innovative leader in international professional education has remained constant. Over the decades the Institute has grown, adding new programs, faculty, and students to expand its global reach and educational mission. In 1961, the school moved to its current downtown Monterey location, where it presently occupies 14 buildings that house two graduate schools, multiple research centers, and numerous special programs.

Gaspard Weiss was apparently a Nazi collaborator during WWII.

1952:Teacher Denies Nazi Past : IN OUR PAGES:100, 75 AND 50 YEARS AGO
Published: December 7, 2002

MONTEREY, Calif.: Gaspard Weiss, chairman of the French department of the Army's foreign language school, denied he was a "Nazi sympathizer" with a collaborationist record in France. He admitted that he and his wife Louise were convicted in absentia and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1945 by a court at Poiters, on a charge of "intelligence with the enemy." But he said the tribunal was a Communist-dominated "people's court" acting from "vengeance" over his clashes with the Communists during the war.

Remsen Bird was pals with Aldus Huxley, one of Oswald's favorite writers.

REMSEN DuBOIS BIRD President, Occidental College, 1921-1946
(This Biography is adapted primarily from Joan P. Olson's Remsen DuBois Bird: A Biography, a Master of Arts thesis written in 1977...Bird's feelings were hurt by some of the criticism, particularly the publication in 1939 of After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley, whom Bird had regarded as a friend. In his satirical novel, Huxley portrays the character based on Bird...Bird announced his resignation from Occidental College in 1945, citing health reasons. For the next 25 years he and Helen resided in Carmel, California where he remained active in preserving the natural beauty of the Monterey Bay area and in the founding of the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies in 1955. Remsen Bird died of heart disease on April 9, 1971.

The third co-founder of the MLI Dwight Morrow, Jr. was the son of the US Ambassador to Mexico and the US Senator from New Jersey who replaced Walter Edge - the Press of Atlantic City Publisher who is a featured character in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Morrow Sr.'s daughter married Charles Lindberg, and it was her son who was kidnapped, and it is her brother, one of the three founders of the MLI who was suspected of having committed the crime.

A Talent to Deceive: Who Really Killed the Lindbergh Baby? Norris' take on the case is that Dwight Morrow's son, Dwight Morrow Jr. is responsible for the kidnapping/death of the Lindbergh baby.

More likely Oswald learned Russian from some affiliation with the Defense Language Institute

DLIFLC – Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) traces its roots to the eve of America’s entry into World War II, when the U.S.Army established a secret school at the Presidio of San Francisco to teach the Japanese language.

Colonel James L. Collins, Jr. was born in El Paso into a family steeped in Army tradition.North Dakota National Guardsmen ashore at Utah Beach during the 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy. He served in Vietnam during the war there and in Korea. A linguist who was fluent in French, Italian, German and Spanish, he was a former commanding officer of the Army language school at Monterey, California, and from 1959 to 1962 was the first director of a coordinated Defense Language Institute in Washington. He also spoke some Russian and was an intelligence officer at times during his career.

At the Presidio of Monterey, the renamed Army Language School (ALS) expanded rapidly in 1947–48 to meet the requirements of America’s global commitments during the Cold War. Instructors, including native speakers of more than thirty languages and dialects, were recruited from all over the world. Russian became the largest language program, followed by Chinese, Korean, and German. After the Korean War (1950–53), the school developed a national reputation for excellence in foreign language education. ALS led the way with the audio-lingual method and the application of educational technology such as the language laboratory.

DLIFLC is a multi-service school for active and reserve components, foreign military students, and civilian personnel working in the federal government and various law enforcement agencies. Instruction takes place in eight separate LANGUAGE SCHOOLS. The present facilities at the PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY accommodate approximately 3,500 Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen, as well as select Department of Defense (DoD) members and the U.S. Coast Guard. To attend DLIFLC one must be a member of the Armed Forces or be sponsored by a government agency.

To further advance student knowledge in a particular language, DLIFLC has designed an IMMERSION PROGRAM which consists of an off site facility where students spend from one to three days in an isolated environment with their instructors and are not allowed to speak English. The facility is equipped with kitchens and sleeping quarters, while the program consists of real-world exercises, from bargaining for food and clothing at a market place, to going through customs, or making hotel reservations. DLIFLC also sends a number of students on 30-day in-country immersions to countries such as Egypt, Korea, China, the Ukraine, etc.

Non-resident, or Post-Basic instruction primarily takes place in the CONTINUING EDUCATION (CE) directorate, which is located near the Presidio at Ord Military Community in Seaside, Calif. Intermediate, advanced and refresher courses are conducted at this facility. DLIFLC also maintains LANGUAGE TRAINING DETACHMENTS (LTD) at 13 sites throughout the continental United States and Hawaii, where DLIFLC instructors are assigned to teach language sustainment and enhancement courses at the demand of the particular military service.

CE is also the home of the FIELD SUPPORT AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS DIVISION, which provides pre-deployment basic language and cultural awareness training to service members. Instructor MOBILE TRAINING TEAMS travel year-round to deliver from two days to four weeks of training, depending on the demands of the requesting unit. Additionally, DLIFLC instructors teach within the scope of the Professional Military Education System at military schools such as the Command and General Staff College, the Air War College, and Naval Postgraduate School.

To support the general purpose force, DLIFLC produces LANGUAGE SURVIVAL KITS (LSK) which are pocket size pamphlets with CDs designed to be used in the field and range in topics from search and cordon, to medical terminology. LSKs exist in more than 30 languages and can contain up to 12 different topical domains within one language. Each year the Institute ships more than 250,000 LSKs to deploying forces.

DLIFLC has designed a new program called HEADSTART, consisting of an interactive 80-hour self-paced DVD which teaches basic language, culture and limited reading and writing. The Avatar characters used in this product are designed to function along the lines of today’s interactive computer games. Headstart is currently available in Iraqi Arabic, and Dari and Pashto spoken in Afghanistan. These language materials can be ordered via DLIFLC’S LANGUAGE MATERIALS DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM website at

Besides Oswald, the Monterey Language Institute is mentioned in connection with a number of others related to the assassination, including Ralph Meyers, Richard Case Nagel and respected researcher Michael T. Griffith.

Ralph Meyers
Jack Ruby's friend Larry Meyers had a son Ralph, who was also said to be registered at the Cabana the night before the assassination. Ralph had served in the Army Security Agency, was trained in Russian and the Monterey Language Institute and served at a top-secret base in Turkey before working as a Chicago bus driver. Ralph was described as being a journalist living in Mexico City.

Richard Case Nagel
The man who knew too much Russell- 2003
California's Monterey School, where Richard Nagell had received his own extensive language training, was still quite active when Oswald was stationed…

Michael T. Griffith -

Michael T. Griffith is a two-time graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and of the U.S. Air Force Technical Training School in San Angelo, Texas. He is also the author of four books on Mormonism and ancient texts. His articles on the JFK assassination have appeared in The Dealey Plaza Echo, in The Assassination Chronicles, and in The JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly. In addition, he is the author of the book Compelling Evidence: A New Look at the Assassination of President Kennedy (Grand Prairie, Texas: JFK-Lancer Productions and Publications, 1996).


Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

Just found this and had to comment since I was in Army Intelligence and learned German in 1973 at the language school. Back then it was called DLIWC = Defense Language Institute West Coast because they had a smaller school on the East Coast at Ft. Meade MD. In 1976 they closed the East Coast school and centralized it all in Monterey so the name changed to DLIFLC.

It's pretty far-fetched to believe that Oswald was ever assigned there since between 1947 and 1963, it was called ALS = Army Language School, and was predominantly army personnel with some Air Force people, but definitely no Navy or Marines.

I do recall the other language school, the International school down the Franklin St. hill, but that was for civilians and mostly foreign service diplomats. Now it's a graduate school of Middlebury College, but then it was foreign service. However, I doubt Oswald would have been there either.

Anyway, thanks for reminding me of a time in my life 40 years ago when I experienced a Paradise while in uniform.

Tom Mellett
Van Nuys, CA

dhankel said...

I was stationed at the School in 1982, then called the Defense Language School. My German teachers included a former SS soldier "Herr Troutman" a Lieutenant in the Panzer Corps (Forgot his name) and my home room teacher "Hans Jung," who was a former NAZI spy who spent the war years in US custody after being arrested at the border of Mexico in 1941. I was told, but can't confirm, that Herr Jung was arrested once again in 1986 or 1987 by the FBI for being an East German spy. All the students thought Herr Jung was a little strange because he used to teach that the Holocaust was a hoax.

Kelly L said...

dhankel - you are just flat out wrong. Herr Jung was not arrested in 86 or 87 (he taught me in 1988), he never taught that the Holocaust was a hoax, and he was not an East German spy. He was a nice but feisty old man who did spend some time in lockup in South America but not because he was a Nazi - but because he was against the Nazis.