Center for Surface Combat Systems Names Mid-grade Instructor of the Year

Story Number: NNS191115-18Release Date: 11/15/2019 4:05:00 PM
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By Kimberly M. Lansdale, Center for Surface Combat Systems Public Affairs

DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) -- The Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) recently announced the selection of its 2019 Mid-grade Instructor of the Year (IOY). 

Capt. Dave Stoner, CSCS commanding officer, explains that it was a very competitive board process but Mineman 1st Class Justin Weatherford stood out among the rest.

“At CSCS, our primary mission is to train Sailors how to fight and to win,” Stoner said. “It is essential that our instructors prepare the Sailors of the Surface Navy to fulfill their shipboard assignments. All of our mid-grade IOY candidates had impressive packages, however, MN1 Weatherford’s performance, drive, and dedication have provided many combat ready Sailors to the fleet.”

As CSCS Mine Warfare Training Center’s (MWTC) leading petty officer, Weatherford mentors and instructs numerous junior Sailors.

“The instructor is the most important part of a Sailor’s development,” Weatherford explained. “Good instructors are able to communicate what they know as Subject Matter Experts to Sailors who have not seen the gear before as well as motivating Sailors to continue learning when they leave the classroom. Every Sailor has a job to do out in the fleet and it all starts with the instructor to ensure that those Sailors are capable of completing their job and supporting the mission.”

Cmdr. Dawn Ricketts, MWTC commanding officer, says Weatherford has a sincere and vested interest in sending only the most qualified minemen to the fleet. 

“He is the consummate professional, routinely praised in student critiques as an exceptional mentor and role model,” Ricketts said. “We select only the best to serve as “A” School instructors and MN1 Weatherford is no exception.”

Weatherford, who hails from Phoenix, Ariz., and has served aboard Mine Countermeasures Detachment Two, attached to USS Independence (LCS 2), has always been passionate about the Navy.

“My grandfather was in the Navy and he was a big motivator for me becoming a Sailor,” he explained.

His two career goals are to become a Chief Petty Officer and experience the expeditionary side of mine warfare.

“I do not know my next duty station yet but I have my fingers crossed to receive orders to an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit,” he said.

Weatherford, who will now compete in the Naval Education and Training Command’s (NETC) mid-grade category for IOY, is honored to represent CSCS and thanks his wife, Noemi, and family for their endless support.    

“I also want to thank the Sailors of MWTC,” he said.  “Thank you to my students for keeping me on my toes and motivating me. Being an instructor is the most rewarding experience I have ever had and has helped me become a better Sailor and person.”

CSCS is a global organization of professional military and civilian educators and support personnel focused on training the Surface Navy to fight and win. CSCS trains over 36,00 U.S. and Allied Sailors a year to operate, maintain and employ weapons, sensors, communications, combat systems and deck equipment of surface warships to build Combat Ready Ships with Battle Minded Crews.

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