By Matthew J. Wilson
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - Staff Sgt. Jericho Ingold, who lives in St. Louis, was recently selected as the Training and Doctrine Command Noncommissioned Officer Instructor of the Year in the National Guard Bureau category. Ingold earned the award while working as an instructor for the Missouri National Guard's 140th Regiment Missouri Regional Training Institute, of Fort Leonard Wood.
To earn the award, which can go to any Guardsmen in the U.S. or its territories, Ingold demonstrated exemplary instructor skills as a cadre member for the institute's military occupational specialty reclassification for military police course. Ingold was nominated for the award through submission of a packet, which included a letter of recommendation from the institute, a self evaluation and video footage of him conducting a class.
When he contributed his part of the packet, Ingold didn't figure it would put him into a national-level competition.
"I honestly didn't know what to expect - It was a little confusing at first," he said. "I didn't know it would go to such a high level. I originally thought it was just a unit award, something just for 140th Regiment and maybe a state award. But I never knew it was going all the way up to Training and Doctrine Command for that."
Ingold first caught wind that he had won something when he received a congratulatory Facebook post from the wife of Master Sgt. James Brown, the chief instructor of the institute's 2nd Battalion and person Ingold most worked with. A few minute after reading the post, he received a call from Brown with the good news.
"This is a great accomplishment for him and is indicative of his hard work and dedication to training," Brown said of Ingold. "My most sincere congratulations go out to Staff Sgt. Ingold and his Family. This is a highly honored recognition that we should all be proud to be a part of."
Although he's already been notified that he's won, Ingold will not receive the award until May 3 during a ceremony at Fort Eustis, Va.
A 12-year member of the Missouri Guard as a traditional Guardsmen, Ingold, has been an instructor with the institute for the past two-and-a-half years. During courses, he takes time off from his position as an assistant manager at St. Louis area QuickTrips and works on orders for the Missouri Guard.
Before he worked at the institute, Ingold served on three deployments: February of 2003 to February of 2004 with the 1137th Military Police Company, of Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, to Kosovo; August of 2005 to August of 2006 with Joint Force Headquarters, of Jefferson City, to Afghanistan; Feb. 2008 to February of 2009 with the 1175th Military Police Company, of St. Clair, to Iraq. During all three deployments, Ingold's primary responsibility was training foreign police services, which he said prepared him greatly to instruct Guardsmen back home.
"I have trained over 1,000 foreign police on the skills needed to become competent police officers," Ingold wrote in his self evaluation. "I feel that the skills that I have gained during these times are my strongest trait. The expertise and training I have gained from deploying makes what I can inject into the lessons so much more rewarding. I am able to share my knowledge and experience of the contemporary operating environment."
Deploying also has helped Ingold know what to ask Soldiers he instructs, so that he can draw on their experiences.
"Being able to bond with the students allows for a more favorable atmosphere in the classroom," he wrote. "Sharing lessons learned between students and between instructors helps to better assist in instructing the students, as well. When a subject can be linked to an idea that the students can relate to, it makes the instruction more beneficial for all."
Ingold also demonstrates his commitment to being an elite instructor by aggressively seeking his students' input on his instruction style from After Actions Reviews, a common form of evaluation in the Army that allows everyone involved to have a say in what worked well and what did not.
"I think, especially as a new instructor, anything I can learn from the students on what I may have done right or wrong - on what they felt was a good learning point for them - is something I want to carry on to the next class I teach," Ingold said. "I want to make sure I do that the next time around. If I put too much time into something, then maybe next time I won't spend so much time on something that is obviously a basic concept."
Along with his deployment experiences and student feedback, Ingold said another huge key to his success has been learning how to be an effective instructor from other members of the institute, especially Brown.
"With everything I did at the institute, a lot of it comes back to Master Sgt. Brown helping me become part of that unit and showing me what a good instructor is," Ingold said. "I don't think I would have made it as far as I have without him, as well as all the other instructors. I learned a lot from the guys around me, and what I learned from them really showed. They showed me what it takes."
A 1998 graduate of Parkway South High School in Manchester, Ingold is 25 credit hours away from a Bachelor's Degree in accounting from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Ingold is supported in his military career by his wife, Angie, and sons, Benjamin 6, and Cael, 2.
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