Warrior Leader Course
Staff Sergeant Deanton Stokes, a small group leader at Fort Stewart's NCOA, instructs Warrior Leader Course students on how to properly enter and clear a room, June 5.

<b>Fort Stewart, Ga.</b>- Since 1775, noncommissioned officers have trained and led Soldiers during peacetime and on the battlefield - from Valley Forge to the current era of persistent conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, in 2009, the Army is taking the time to showcase the contributions of the NCO Corps and dedicating the entire year to celebrating its enlisted leaders.

Along with glorifying these leaders who pride themselves on professionalism and dedication, the Year of the NCO is also a time to enhance NCOs' development through education, fitness, leadership and pride in service. As senior leadership plans to improve Army education programs this year, one staff sergeant at Fort Stewart's NCO Academy is also pitching in, helping to further develop the minds of our future leaders.

Staff Sergeant Deanton Stokes, a small group leader hailing from Pensacola, Fla., teaches competence and confidence to his Warrior Leader Course students. He said his six years of Army experience has contributed to his success as an instructor at the NCOA and affords him the credibility to train at the primary level of the NCO Education System.

A trained motor transport operator, Staff Sgt. Stokes said his role as an SGL is basically the same as a squad leader, who ensures the welfare of his Soldiers in both tactical and garrison environments. He instructs young sergeants and soon-to-be NCOs on Army basics, everything from counseling troops to war fighting skills.

"I feel like it's a vital role being a small group leader," Staff Sgt. Stokes said, adding that with the 3rd Infantry Division's rapid deployment rotations, Soldiers are not able to attend WLC until they return to home station. "I just wanted to be a part of the effort to train them up."

Command Sergeant Major Jerry Taylor said the small group leader develops his instruction to be in line with the NCOA's vision, which is to train and develop future leaders. The NCOA commandant added that Staff Sgt. Stokes is one of the most motivated and dedicated NCOs he has ever met.

"Staff Sergeant Stokes has been a true asset to this academy in all the things he's done," Command Sgt. Maj. Taylor said. "He's highly motivated and skilled and has come to the academy and learned all the tasks that are necessary for him to learn to be an outstanding instructor."

It was that motivation and skill that helped this Army leader to another title - 2008 NCOA Instructor of the Year.

"Staff Sergeant Stokes is the noncommissioned officer who likes to go out and excel at things," Command Sgt. Maj. Taylor said, adding that education also contributed to Staff Sgt. Stokes' success. "He worked hard and studied and came out successful as the winner.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16