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UNG military science sergeant named top Army ROTC instructor in nation

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Bent, a military science instructor at the University of North Georgia (UNG), has been selected as the top Army ROTC instructor in the country, and is among those in consideration for Instructor of the Year across the U.S. Army.

Jason Bent
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Bent, a military science instructor at UNG, talks with cadets during a recent class.

"Sgt. 1st Class Jason Bent was chosen by the Department of Military Science to represent UNG in the U.S. Army Cadet Command Instructor of the Year competition because he is the consummate professional," said Sgt. Maj. Kerry Dyer, chief military science instructor at UNG. "Bent can always be found leading and teaching cadets from the front. He is a firm believer in the importance of physical fitness for accomplishing the Army mission and maintaining and strengthening cadet resiliency. He inspires others to perform their best and take ownership in the mission and their personal lives."

Bent was selected as Instructor of the Year for the 1st Brigade, which includes the nation's six senior military colleges, and then by U.S. Army Cadet Command, which oversees 275 senior ROTC programs and 1,600 JROTC units throughout the nation. The nomination required a video of Bent teaching, which is under review by a panel from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) that is expected to announce the selection of Army Instructor of the Year later this spring. TRADOC is responsible for all Army training and oversees six major subordinate centers and commands, including Cadet Command, and 32 Army schools that train more than 500,000 soldiers and service members each year.

"It was an honor to win at the brigade level, and when I received word that I won Cadet Command Instructor of the Year I was extremely excited," Bent said.

Before his assignment to UNG as an instructor, Bent previously served as a drill sergeant at Fort Benning for three years. He said that unique perspective of teaching enlisted soldiers and future officers has allowed him to see the full spectrum of Army training and gives him insight to teach cadets about the soldiers they may someday lead.

Bent, who has been in the Army for 14 years, said he was impressed immediately upon arrival at UNG last March with the knowledge and expertise of UNG's Corps of Cadets, though initially surprised to learn the extent of their responsibilities in running events and training subordinates.

"I was surprised by how much they do, even though there is oversight by the large cadre of staff, and how little advice that they need on the minor things because of their experience with the corps," said Bent. This allows instructors to focus on instruction of more complex, "bigger picture" objectives, he added.

Bent works closely with third-year cadets called Observer Trainer Mentors, or OTMs, who are responsible for planning and running training sessions for younger cadets; this mirrors the responsibilities of a second lieutenant in charge of a platoon.

"I tell them not to be afraid to make mistakes and to learn from them. It's better to make mistakes here than on the battlefield," Bent said. "Because the UNG Corps of Cadets is set up so that cadets progress like they would in the U.S. Army, the structure works very well."

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