FORT KNOX, Ken. –
FORT KNOX, KY - Instructors from the 80th Training Command’s 102d, 100th, and 94th training divisions, competed in the 80th Training Command’s annual instructor of the year competition at Fort Knox 26 – 29 October 2022.
The participants were required to complete a 20-minute class of their choosing, answer questions from the Army Training and Doctrine Command and Army Regulations based on instructor knowledge. Additionally, they were required to do an impromptu motivator style of instruction with the intent of motivating the students on a topic given by the board.
The winner of the officer category was Maj. John VanDusen from the 11th of the 95th Regiment 97th Brigade, from Fort Sheridan, Illinois.
Maj. VanDusen felt the competition would be a great opportunity for to showcase his skills and reflect his mentors and his team.
He felt “honored and humbled,” when he found out he was the winner for the officers.
VanDusen, spent a lot of time preparing with his team and his mentors. He considers them a big part of his success in the competition.
The part of the competition Maj. VanDusen said he was most nervous about was the appearance board.
“Boards aren’t something that officers experience,” said VanDusen, “so I spent a lot of time with my team practicing boards in order to be prepared for that part of the competition.” Overall, he felt that the appearance board was a good experience.
Sgt. 1st Class Donald Swain, instructor for the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy Fort Dix, was the winner of the NCO’s category.
Sgt. 1st Class Swain said his favorite part of the competition was the impromptu motivator. For Swain, it allowed him to use his on-the-spot creativity because of the limited prep-time he had before executing his motivator.
Swain said he was completely shocked, when they called his name as the winner for the NCOs.
“You begin to think back over the days and think about all the things you could’ve done better, said Swain, “so when they called my name, I was shocked, I didn’t think I did well enough to be the winner.”
Swain said he entered the competition to be surrounded by great instructors throughout the command and see how he measures up against the best.
His advice for future competitors is “Do it, enjoy it, don’t over think it, work on it, prepare, but then let it come naturally.”