DLI Students Compete For Nerd Of The Quarter Crown Ron August 11, 2012 News 24 Comments Follow Duffel Blog: MONTEREY, CA — On a brisk, sunny northern California morning, Defense Language Institute students gathered at Soldier Field for the first day of the Nerd of the Quarter competition. Sailors, soldiers, Marines, and airmen braved dozens of events designed to test their nerd mettle, including World of Warcraft navigation, Star Wars trivia, Star Trek trivia, Cosplay, and Magic the Gathering deck building. “This is a rigorous day for all competitors,” said Petty Officer Mike Boyle, a military language instructor and self-described “Battlestar Galactica Uber-Freak.” Boyle is one of the judges of the competition, and a former Nerd of the Quarter winner himself. He stressed the importance of well-rounded skills. “We’re not looking to reward the guy who knows everything about Manga but nothing about Lord of the Rings,” Boyle said. “Actually,” Boyle added, “could you change that when you quote me? I said ‘guy who knows everything’ but I should have said ‘guy or girl.’ Some of the girls here are into vampire nerd stuff and are so fracking uncool [sic], they make me look like Apollo Adama in comparison.” The early favorite of this quarter’s competition was Private James Hurley, a student in the basic Arabic program who hails from Salt Lake City. During the interview round, Hurley revealed that he speaks Arabic all the time, even during the 10-minute breaks between classes and out at the movie theater with his friends. “Hurley is a beast,” Boyle said. “Just being at DLI means your nerd potential is high. But speaking your language out in town on a Friday night—that kind of dedication really elevates your nerd cred.” Later in the day, though, Marine Corps Private First Class David Jennisen surged to the front of the pack. The 19-year-old student in the Chinese program sits atop the leaderboard after the first day of competition. “I don’t know why I’m even here,” said Jennisen, whose entire back is covered by a tattoo of an eagle flanked by the words “Semper Fidelis.” “I’m not a nerd,” Jennisen insisted. “Yeah, maybe I’m a little too into kung fu movies, especially Donnie Yen’s early work, and maybe some Sammo Hung if I’m feeling like watching some sell-out Hong Kong new wave bullshit . But at the end of the day, I’m not a nerd. I’m a deadly warrior.” Jennisen then went on to recite the Rifleman’s Creed, followed by twenty-minutes-worth of lines from Full Metal Jacket and Heartbreak Ridge. The students are battling for a vacant crown. The winner of last quarter’s competition, Airman Reggie Watkins, wasn’t able to attend this weekend because he now has a girlfriend. Competition continues until Sunday. William Goss says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM wtf Mohammed Mohsen Shaker says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM LOL I love this, sadly I missed my chance to go when they decided they were not going to send me to DLI to learn something else, since I speak fluent DLPT Arabic…well the rest is history I ETSed. Uptown Citgo says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM Excellent site. Let the truth ring! Jason D Sousley says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM Holy shit…I don’t know where I would fall in this competetion. I think I could compete, but my knowledge of some non-nerdy things could put me out. Walt Miller says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM Another classic. Brian Alford says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM You think DLI has some nerds? Anyone here know a Navy Nuke? I swear to you, my Navy recruiter posted up next to a Gamestop to try and up his Nuke quota. Try starting a conversation at NNPTC that doesn’t involve comics, video games, card games, tabletop RPGs or sci-fi/fantasy. I dare you. Patrick Cahill says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM Shame about Reggie I though he was in to at least graduation. Brandon Waithe says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM holy shit this is so true….I went to DLI. I thought I was a nerd- I quickly learned that I wasn’t nerd enough. There was a guy who claimed to speak dolphin while I was there. hahahah Sean Poyner says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM Well played duffelblog… well played… Jeff Julum says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM I once appeared in this story. My apologies. Jonathon Owen Alexander says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM Oh God… good to see some things never change in sunny, beautiful Monterey. Though those marines in the photo are probably suffering through flash cards, not Magic:The Gathering cards. Sadly. Tiffany Starnes says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM I loved growing up next to this base. I always had people to game with. (yes, I know its satire. If it happened at any base it would be this one.) Chad Underdonk says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM Sadly the NotQC organization has been unable to convince TRADOC to institute a Klingon Language course. NotQC attempted death by power-point to prove that Klingon speakers might someday be as useful as Navajo Code-Talkers. They were however unable to prove that OpSec could be maintained with a language that is already known among Trekkiess worldwide. The DLI Assistant Commandant also commented off the record that the incidence of Nerd-Rage among those practicing Klingon in informal groups was also greatly magnified to the point of becoming a disciplinary issue. The Assistant Commandant finished his comments saying ” Qovpatlh lI’be’ vo’ poH je Huch jay’ “. Robert P. Wills says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM No AD&D? I’m offended! Patrick Collins says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM ‘Soldier’ and ‘Airman’ are spelled with capital letters when talking about U.S. Army and Air Force servicemembers. Chris Crouch says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM As a DLI Graduate all I can say is, HOLY CRAP this is accurate. Very well played, DuffelBlog! Much like Brandon Waithe, I too quickly learned I wasn’t nearly nerd enough! This is AWESOME! Jeremy Gamet says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM This is probably the single most true to life satire piece ever. Does that make it bad satire? Or is it good news with heavy embellishments? You decide! Max Power says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM Within two minutes of talking to one, you could always ident. the I-branchers in our command. At least most of the CPO I-branchers were easier to talk to and did not need all that extra time to get off their high-horse. lol Joel Norman says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM I love the bit about the dude from Salt Lake who speaks his language even on his off time. Sounds like a former LDS missionary, all right. Lee Buttrill says: February 26, 2014 at 12:56 AM I wish they had this when I was there! Would have ruled. John S. Holsonback says: August 15, 2012 at 12:06 AM As a DLI professor (and former MLI and USAF RU linguist) I can definitely say this article is dead on, and freaking hilarious. I tell all the new students here at DLI that hey are all nerds, and that there is a nerd hierarchy. Athletic types (re: Marines) deny it, but when I explain that fantasy football is like D & D for jocks, they give in. Great article! I am printing this off and showing it to as many students (and staff) as possible.