PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - The Presidio's Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center welcomed a new leader during a ceremony here May 22.

Col. David K. Chapman assumed responsibility of the center during a well-attended event before a background of the scenic Monterey Bay.

Brig. Gen. Christopher P. Hughes, who serves as deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Combined Arms Center-Leader Development and Education, officiated at the change-of-command ceremony.

During his remarks, Hughes noted the demands for skilled linguists on the battlefields during this century and the last. He recognized the high-quality leadership and the exceptional abilities of the DLI staff to excellently meet the challenges with the highest level of poise and proficiency.

Hughes pointed out that DLIFLC is recognized as the foreign language center of excellence in the United States. It is also the standard-bearer by which all other like-institutions are judged.

"DLI continues to routinely improve beyond exceptional on a daily basis," he said. "I cannot think of a single other entity in the United States that I would actually call a peer to DLI."

Chapman realized his fortune in not only returning to DLI, but also to the Monterey Peninsula.

He said that 25 years ago he showed up as a "brand new" second lieutenant to the then-7th Infantry Division, and he acknowledged that his three and a half years at the former Fort Ord brought him a kinship with the Monterey Peninsula.

While Chapman said when he was as Fort Ord he never thought he would be able to return, this tour marks his third time in the Monterey area. "It's an incredible way to come full circle in a military career," he said.

Chapman, like his predecessor, retired Col. Danial D. Pick, is a graduate of the DLIFLC. Chapman holds certifications in Russian, Serbian/Croatian and Greek languages.

Showing that he understands what current DLIFLC students endure as well as the incredible capabilities of the institute, Chapman said that although he had "no particular talent for linguistics," he stands as proof that "the Army can teach a [regular] kid … to speak multiple languages."

"DLI is simply that good," he said.

Chapman said he "endured" Russian studies 17 years ago at DLI. "It was hard, it was painful. … But I think I came out of the process a different and better person."

While Chapman studied Russian in Monterey, he studied his other languages at the DLI's Washington, D.C. campus. In reaching out to his new command, Chapman briefly spoke in his non-native languages during his speech.

Chapman said the benefits of his language training stayed with him during his military career. "What I learned here at [DLI] set the framework for the other jobs I've had in the military."


Chapman, a graduate of The Citadel, entered active duty in 1989 as a second lieutenant.

His military experience includes service and command in several infantry and special operations units. These include the 7th Infantry Division (Light), 75th Ranger Regiment and 82nd Airborne Division, as well as combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Chapman's military education includes Ranger, Airborne, Air Assault and Advanced Survival training.

In addition to being a graduate of DLIFLC, Chapman also graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. National War College.

He was a senior fellow at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany, where he focused on post-Soviet Union affairs.

He also served as aide to the commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, and as military attaché at the American embassies in Belgrade, Serbia, and Athens, Greece.

Chapman holds a bachelor's degree in English from The Citadel, a master's in International Relations from Troy State University, and a Masters in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University.

Chapman's Army decorations include: the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the Combat Action Badge.