MONTEREY, Calif. – Col. Greg Ford, Presidio of Monterey commander, presented Mayor Clyde Roberson, City of Monterey, with a Patriotic Public Service Award to the City of Monterey for 250 years of partnership on June 8 at the Colton Hall Museum.
The City of Monterey and the Presidio have a long-rich history together.
Captain Don Gaspar de Portola, a Spanish soldier, established the Presidio of Monterey June 3, 1770 to defend Monterey’s port. It took about a year to erect the original fort.
The City of Monterey is the second oldest city in California after San Diego. Throughout its history, Monterey has been under the control of four countries: Spain, Argentina, Mexico and the United States.
In 1846 during the Mexican–American War, Commodore John D. Sloat, commander of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Squadron, raised the American flag at the Custom House and claimed California for the United States. A symbolic act for Monterey and the country.
The Presidio’s mission has changed many times throughout its history, but in 1946 it welcomed the Army Language School to develop military linguists. The school was eventually changed to the Defense Language Institute in 1963. Native-speaking instructors from around the world move to Monterey to teach foreign languages to military students.
“The reason our partnership is so successful is because the City of Monterey has embraced our diversity,” said Ford. “As we bring students here from across the nation and faculty from across the globe, the City of Monterey has provided a place where diversity is embraced and cherished, and that’s why Monterey is the Language Capital of the World.”
Roberson said the City of Monterey values the military for the diversity it brings to the peninsula, and appreciates seeing the students and faculty enjoying the Monterey community.
“I am always so impressed when I see the young students and the staff … how intelligent they are, how caring they are, and how much they appreciate our city,” said Roberson. “There’s a sense of family we have with the Defense Language Institute.”
He added, “Monterey is truly the Language Capital of the world, but I like to think it’s a place of diversity, welcome, and warmth.”