By Sofia Bledsoe, IMCOMDecember 3, 2008
They teach and build confidence. They are mentors and friends. They are responsible for teaching their students to be masters of their military occupational specialties. They are the finest of all instructors on Redstone Arsenal.
They may not be famous, but they are the ones Soldiers will never forget.
Sgt. 1st Class Dynetha Childs, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Mark Hoskins, and Charles Mayo are the 2008 Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School and the 59th Ordnance Brigade's Instructors of the Year. They were recognized at the award luncheon Nov. 21 at the Officers and Civilians Club.
"You develop Soldiers that are the platforms for our Army and are the heartbeat of our command in TRADOC," said William Moore, deputy to the commanding general of the Combined Armed Support Command and guest speaker at the award luncheon. "You instill order, discipline and an Army set of values."
Citing a recent comment from Gen. William Wallace, commander for Training and Doctrine Command, Moore said that most Soldiers preferred to stay in a line unit or deploy in theater rather than become an instructor. "It is one of the toughest jobs in the Army," said Moore.
Childs, a native of Montgomery, is an instructor and writer from Headquarters & Headquarters Company 59th and began teaching as an Army reservist in 1999. She joined OMEMS as one of its instructors in 2003. She said she feels she offers students a different learning perspective by being a motivator.
"I'm here for the students," Childs said. Her favorite aspect in being an instructor is receiving e-mails from prior students who keep in touch and tell her about their accomplishments after taking her course. Childs was highly recommended as someone with "motivated teaching techniques demonstrated by the consistent performance of her students with grade averages above 90 percent." She is assigned to the 13th Battalion, 4th Brigade, and 80th Division at Redstone.
Hoskins, an OMEMS instructor for two years, said receiving the award was a humbling experience. "There are so many good instructors here that you conform to everybody else. There is a high set of standards," he said. Lauded for his tactical and operational knowledge of missile systems, Hoskins said one of the most difficult aspects about the job is the consistent mental challenge of staying in control and knowing more than your students. "You can never lose your presence or else you can never gain your respect," he said.
Although he plans to retire next year, being an OMEMS instructor has been one of the most enjoyable and best learning experiences in his life. Hoskins, a three-time combat veteran, is assigned to the Warrant Officer Training Department on Redstone.
Mayo, who retired from the Army in 1999, has been an instructor at OMEMS for the past decade. His training since retirement includes Learning Developer/Subject Matter Expert for Developed Distributed Learning Interactive Multimedia Instruction, TRADOC Training Developer Middle Manager's Course, and the Test Construction Course. Mayo has also been nominated for the TRADOC Civilian of the Year Award. He works in the Munitions Training Department, Conventional Ammunition Division as an instructor and writer.
Some 15 to 20 percent of a Soldier's career is spent in formal instruction. Instructors directly influence 1 out of 4 Soldiers every day, and "they don't do it for the money," Moore said. "You can be proud when commanders in the field praise the Soldiers they are getting. Commanders say that the Soldiers are ready on day one and are extremely happy with the training they received from their instructors."
To future successors, Hoskins offers a networking advice. "I would network a little better with other organizations on post," Hoskins said. Being proactive and learning more about the resources available on post is invaluable to teaching students the right stuff and things that are current and relevant as they transition to their respective units. "For warrant officers it's all about who you know," Hoskins said. "It's stuff I have in the continuity book."
Col. Thomas Keegan, 59th Ordnance Brigade commander, said the most invaluable thing that instructors do is teach students to be able to operate independently in their individual skill sets. But what struck Keegan the most was the comment instructors gave him about teaching.
"The comment I got was that the most important thing that anyone can do is to care about the Soldiers," he said. "You just can't get any better than that."