PENSACOLA, Fla. – A 1995 Marshland High School, Cambridgeshire, England graduate and Coronado, California native was selected as a 2017 midgrade enlisted Military Instructor of the Year (IOY) finalist for Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) at a ceremony onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola at the National Naval Aviation Museum on Dec. 14.
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Petty Officer 1st Class Jared Whitefield is a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) instructor at the Center for Security Forces (CSF) Det. North Island, San Diego. He trains service members on the use of survival skills in the event of isolation or captivity.
Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad, NETC commander, congratulated all the finalists in each category for their roles in shaping the Navy’s future force and for their contributions to the training and education mission.
“You represent the best of the very best throughout the domain,” said Cozad. “Each one of you here today has a common theme: a hard work ethic, a drive to be a better leader, and teamwork. Each and every one of you is a competitor, and that competitive edge is the thing that makes our Navy better than the other navies today.
“Whitefield is qualified as a Master Training Specialist (MTS), which is a designation for demonstrating highly effective teaching skills and a comprehensive understanding of schoolhouse management, as well as for taking a leadership role in mentoring, instructing and evaluating instructors and curriculum. He manages the command-wide MTS program at CSF Det. North Island.
“I truly believe in what we teach at SERE, and I put everything I have into the course,” said Whitefield. “We aren’t teaching these things for fun, or because it’s cool, we’re teaching people how to survive in the absolute worst-case scenarios. I feel that believing in what you teach is the key to inspiring students to listen, ask questions, and once they understand, apply what they have learned.”
Whitefield encourages every Sailor to make the best out of their career and put in the hard work required.
“I firmly believe that you get out of the military, what you put into it,” said Whitefield. “Helping junior Sailors understand that will be one of the biggest things I take back to the fleet. You can either be on the sidelines complaining about things you can’t control, or you can take control of those things and make the best of it.”
Out of approximately 8,000 instructors within NETC, Whitefield was one of two finalists who competed for the NETC mid-grade enlisted IOY. He received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his achievements.
The IOY recognition ceremony concluded a week of activities in Pensacola honoring the nominated candidates.
“Seeing the professionalism and dedication of all these outstanding Instructor of the Year finalists only validates the phrase ‘Fleet Readiness Starts Here,’” said NETC Force Master Chief Karim Cole during the ceremony. “I am confident that we have the right people in place to train, guide and get our Sailors ready to man the fleet.”
Whitefield has earned a technical degree from Norfolk College of Arts and Technology.
“Ultimately, I would like to put in an officer package and lead from that side of the house,” said Whitefield. “I understand that it is a competitive route to take and may not pan out. If I stay on the enlisted side of the house, I expect to be the master chief petty officer of the Navy before I retire.”
The NETC IOY programs recognize Sailors throughout the NETC domain who exhibit sustained superior performance, leadership, mentorship, knowledge and teaching of military history and heritage, self-improvement, command and community involvement, and exemplary military bearing. NETC is the largest shore command in the Navy and is comprised of more than 12,000 military and staff personnel at more than 230 subordinate activities and detachments in the United States and at remote sites overseas. NETC provides training and education to more than 31,000 students on any given day.