MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE LANGUAGE SCHOOL
On Nov. 1, 1941, the Army established the 4th U.S. Army Intelligence School at the Presidio of San Francisco to teach Japanese to Japanese-American (Nisei) soldiers in case of a possible conflict with Japan. War broke out in December 1941, and in 1942 the school was moved to Minnesota and renamed the Military Intelligence Service Language School. Almost all of the 6,000 wartime graduates of MISLS were trained in Japanese.
ARMY LANGUAGE SCHOOL
In 1946, MISLS was moved to the Presidio of Monterey. It added Russian, Chinese, Korean, Arabic and six other languages to its curriculum and was renamed the Army Language School in 1947. The size of the faculty and student classes and number of languages taught increased throughout the Cold War years.
DEFENSE LANGUAGE INSTITUTE
Different service language schools were combined in 1963, when the Army Language School was redesignated the Defense Language Institute West Coast Branch, with its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Navy school became the Defense Language Institute East Coast Branch. The Air Force programs were phased out by 1970. The U.S. Air Force English Language School for foreign military personnel at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, became the Defense Language Institute English Language Center.
During the Vietnam conflict the need for Vietnamese language training was so great that a special branch, the Defense Language Institute Southwest Branch, was established at Biggs Air Force Base near El Paso, Texas. This branch was phased out in 1973, but not before the Defense Language Institute had given more than 20,000 service members experience with the Vietnamese language.
When the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command was established in 1973, the Defense Language Institute was placed under its control. In 1974, the institute headquarters and the East Coast branch merged with the West Coast branch at the Presidio of Monterey. In 1976, the English Language Center was separated from the rest of the institute, and the school at Monterey became the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.