Marine wins instructor title
Marine Staff Sgt. Van L. Jenkins, a JCCoE instructor, observes as Pvt. Celina Figeroa, a student, measures sugar for a cake recipe.

FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 17, 2011) --The U.S. Army Quartermaster School named Marine Staff Sgt. Van L. Jenkins as the 2011 Distinguished Instructor of the Year in a ceremony Nov. 9 at Mullens Auditorium.

Jenkins is an instructor for Marine NCOs learning advanced culinary skills.

Jenkins began his career as a food service specialist when he enlisted in the Marines 19 years ago. He didn't choose the military occupational speciality; the Marines chose it for him.

"I never wanted to be a cook. I wanted to join the Marine Corps to become a infantryman," said Jenkins. "But because they needed cooks, I became one."

During his career, Jenkins has trained with some of the finest cooks in the military. He has attended the Pro Chef School in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where Marine NCOs train to become general aides.

"The ProChef Certification course is only for top-notch students, Jenkins said. "Participants are hand selected to attend."

Jenkins is the second in his family to receive this award here. His grandfather, whom he was named after, also received the award years ago when he was an Army chef.

"In some way, I was destined to become a food service specialist and win this award," said Jenkins. "It's in my blood."

Students aspiring to become Marine chefs are able to learn and work alongside Jenkins as part of their initial training to complete their MOS instruction prior to entering the fleet.

Pvt. Damen Snell, one of Jenkin's students said his instructor deserved the distinction.

"He has earned it," he said. "He has taken a small class of Marines and turned us into fine cooks."

Jenkins hasn't let earning the title spoil his approach to instructing his students. He keeps it simple.

"Leave what's in the fleet in the fleet. Being an instructor, you have to be patient and have an open mind so that your students feel comfortable asking you questions," said Jenkins.

The staff sergeant was awarded a Navy Commendation Medal for his win along with prizes that include a plaque, a desk name plate, and gift cards from Morale Welfare and Recreation and the Quartermaster Association.

Winners of the Distinguished Instructor of the Year award will compete in the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Competition. Jenkins hopes to compete in next year's competition as well.

Page last updated Sun November 20th, 2011 at 22:48