MONTEREY, Calif. – Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey Sailors may be stuck on base as Monterey County continues to shelter in place, but IWTC Monterey and the Presidio of Monterey have been busy arranging activities throughout the month of May to keep them busy and provide some socially-distanced fun.
Monterey County, home to the Presidio of Monterey, IWTC Monterey, and the Defense Language Institute (DLI), has been under a shelter in place order since March 17. With the base following the county’s lead, and in some cases, implementing more stringent restrictions from the Department of Defense, most Sailors and other service members residing on the Presidio have largely remained on base. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, most on-base gathering and recreation areas have also been temporarily closed. This has left base residents, most of whom are students at the DLI with little to do for recreation. To ease the boredom, leaders have been coming forward to organize various events aimed at increasing morale while maintaining social distancing.
The Presidio’s Better Opportunities for Single Servicemembers (BOSS) program held the first event in late April, a virtual talent show. Military members, families, and civilian staff from various organizations throughout the base recorded their talents and submitted the videos for voting. An IWTC Monterey Sailor won second place overall with her rendition of “Anchors Aweigh” on the trombone.
On May 9, Navy Yeoman 1st Class David Lee organized and hosted a command-wide video game tournament. Staff and students, from their homes or barracks rooms, were organized into teams and competed in League of Legends while many more Sailors watched the live streams and cheered for their chosen teams. The N34 division team took the victory in this first tournament. More are scheduled in the coming weeks.
“I’m absolutely terrible at these games,” said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Amos Hoover. “So I thought this would be a fun way to keep some students occupied and give them something to laugh about, if only for a little while.”
On May 15, DLI students eager for some entertainment during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place requirement, took it upon themselves to organize a drive-in movie theater in front of the Aiso Library. About half a dozen students picked a movie, worked with Morale, Welfare and Recreation and the installation audio-visual department to set up this event for their peers.
“We decided to ask the (Air Force) Chaplain for support and (now) we do this every Friday,” said Army Specialist Noa Voight. “We have free snacks, like beverages and free popcorn, and a different organization sponsors us every week.”
Both the Presidio and IWTC Monterey held facemask contests. The IWTC Monterey contest was organized by Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Virginia Soto, and included several competitive categories like best Navy-themed and most creative handmade mask.
“This was a good outlet for those with a creative streak to make something,” said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Brian Burrows. “It was also a good opportunity for the Sailors to meet the skipper and bring a little bit of positivity in this weird time.”
On May 18, Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Demian Ford launched the IWTC Monterey virtual running club. The group grew to more than 30 members in the first week. The participants are given monthly challenges and track their runs on a popular running mobile application. Winners of each monthly challenge will receive a coin from the IWTC Monterey Commanding Officer Capt. Michael Salehi. Within the first week of the club’s existence, members ran a cumulative total of 446.3 miles. On Memorial Day, Seaman Elizabeth Carpenter logged a 4.34-mile run “in memory of those who lost their lives fighting for our country,” and “in memory of Senior Chief Kent.”
“We can all be part of the problem or solution,” said Salehi. “Life often deals us an unfavorable hand of cards, but it takes true, deck-plate leadership to seek creative opportunities to keep our young Sailors inspired, motivated, and engaged to push through adversity. I’m proud of my staff leadership for seeking these morale-building events for our young Sailors, and perpetuating a culture of optimism throughout the ranks during these difficult times.”
IWTC Monterey, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), provides a continuum of foreign language training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 20,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
For more about Information Warfare Training Command Monterey, visit https://www.public.navy.mil/netc/centers/ciwt/IWTCmonterey/Default.asx and http://www.monterey.army.mil/Service_Units/IWTC_Monterey.html, or find them on Facebook.
For news from the Center for Information Warfare Training domain, visit www.navy.mil/local/cid/, www.netc.navy.mil/centers/ciwt/, www.facebook.com/NavyCIWT, or www.twitter.com/NavyCIWT.