Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for April 11, 2011 - Staff Sgt. Jayce Mayberry

Staff Sergeant Jayce Mayberry

Current Unit: Minnesota National Guard Operation Mentor and Liaison Team 47
Current Position: Gunner and Afghan National Army English Mentor
Component: National Guard
Current Location: Superior, Wis.
Hometown: Duluth, Minn.
Years of Service: 7

When Staff Sgt. Jayce Mayberry joined the Army more than seven years ago, he planned to use his military service as a means to pay for his college education. His plans soon changed. Shortly after his first deployment to Iraq, Mayberry realized that he wanted to make a career out of the Army.

“I had only planned on serving six years for the college benefits,” Mayberry explained. “But the Army became a way of life after my first deployment to Iraq. It made me feel like I had a greater sense of purpose.”

Recently returned from a second deployment in Afghanistan, Mayberry applied the knowledge gained during his first tour to his work with the Minnesota National Guard Operation Mentor and Liaison Team 47. In this role Mayberry served as a gunner and an Afghan National Army (ANA) English mentor.

During his tour, Mayberry and his team were charged with performing combat patrols and with transporting Soldiers to other bases to attend meetings.

“My responsibility was to make sure the vehicle was clean, prepared and ready for any mission at a moment’s notice,” Mayberry said. “As a gunner, my role was to protect my guys wherever we went. I also assisted the driver with going through tight spots and directed traffic when necessary.”

While Mayberry knows that his duties as a gunner were important, he very much enjoyed his work as an ANA English mentor.

“I taught English to the officers and noncommissioned officers in the Afghan battalion that we mentored,” Mayberry said. “I liked teaching far more than I ever thought I would. It’s great to watch someone go from knowing nothing at all about the language to having a wide range of knowledge just because I put in the time to help them.”

While teaching English to the Afghan Soldiers had its challenges, Mayberry relied on flexibility in his teaching methods to ensure that he was an effective mentor.

“It was difficult at times because it was a new language for them. When the Afghans did not understand something, I changed the approach. In my mind, as a teacher, being one-dimensional is failure. Not everyone learns the same way, some learn one way and others learn another. It was my job to make sure they learned and understood.”

As a result of his flexible and understanding approach, Mayberry formed great relationships with the Afghan Soldiers he mentored.

“My students love me because they love to learn and they liked that I came to teach them. With the Afghan people that I came in contact with everything was great. When you give respect, you get respect, plain and simple.”

Mayberry is proud of the work he accomplished during this tour and knows that he’ll be able to apply the knowledge and skills gained when he returns to work in the states.

“I’ve learned a lot about language, culture, and many other things, which I will use to brief future troops and teach classes in my job back home. My most rewarding deployment experience has been having the maturity to understand another culture.”

Mayberry returned to the U.S. a few weeks ago and has enjoyed spending time with his wife at their home in Superior, Wis. He will resume his work as a recruiter with the Minnesota National Guard in the coming weeks.

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