Munakata family visits DLIFLC
February 7, 2012
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Family members of Yutaka Munakata toured the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and Munakata Hall, the building named in his honor, Jan. 27.
Munakata was one of the first four instructors at the Military Intelligence Service Language School starting in 1941 and served as an Army language instructor for almost four decades.
After World War II he moved to Monterey with the school, which later became DLIFLC. Munakata Hall was built at the Presidio of Monterey as a general instruction building in 1984 for a cost of $6 million.
DLIFLC command historian Dr. Stephen Payne escorted the family around the installation, which Munakata's son recalled as being very different when he was a child.
Donald Munakata of San Mateo, who brought his wife and in-laws to see the DLIFLC campus, said he used to spend time on the Presidio as a child while visiting his father at work.
It was his first time at the school in 10 years and he admitted a lot has changed. Unfortunately, Donald's sister, who planned to also attend, had to cancel at the last moment.
The younger Munakata described his father as typical Japanese, quiet and modest about his accomplishments, but said he thinks that his father would be very proud to see his name on such a great building at the school.
"My father really loved the school. His whole life revolved around it," Donald said. "He would spend seven days a week working and I remember him often sitting at the kitchen table on weekends going through piles of school papers."
After touring Munakata Hall, the family was greeted by DLIFLC Commandant Col. Danial D. Pick who thanked them for coming and told the family how important he felt it was for the school to stay connected to its roots.