Receiving the Southeast region’s USAA Assistant Marine Officer Instructor of the Year came as a surprise to Gunnery Sgt. Noe Ahumada-Barron, but not to those who work closely with him.
Six Assistant Marine Officer Instructors in the country are selected for regional awards from USAA and one of them will be chosen as the national winner. The award recognizes outstanding staff noncommissioned officers from 63 NROTC units nationwide.
The recipient of the award is an AMOI who has gone above and beyond and deserves to be named amongst the best in the NROTC program.
“I was shocked,” Ahumada-Barron said. “I didn’t know I was getting put up for it. I think the credit goes towards the students, because they’re gaining leadership skills and are developing, all that is a reflection on the faculty. I wouldn’t say just myself, but I think I’m a contributor to that.”
Ahumada-Barron works with NROTC students to prepare them for Officer Candidate School following graduation from Jacksonville University. He hones their leadership skills, gets them in top physical shape and helps them find the best path within the Marines for them to pursue.
“Gunnery Sgt. Ahumada-Barron is a phenomenal Marine and a vital member of the staff here at Jacksonville NROTC,” said Marine Officer Instructor Capt. Joseph Butterfield. “I cannot think of a more deserving individual. He has an incredible amount of experience and uses that to better our students daily.”
Ahumada-Barron spent time as a drill instructor in San Diego, Hawaii and North Carolina before coming to work as the assistant marine officer instructor at Jacksonville University. He was also deployed four times to Iran and Afghanistan.
His desire to teach and guide others inspired him to pursue the drill instructor route.
“As a young Marine, we started to teach other Marines that are coming into the fleet different military skill sets,” he said. “That kind of led me here. I love seeing, teaching students and interacting with them and seeing them grow and develop really working on those leadership skills.”
When it came time for his next assignment following a stint in North Carolina, Ahumada-Barron listed Jacksonville University as his top choice. He was selected for a three-year post, which he’s served two and a half years of so far.
“Seeing those students come in at such a young age not knowing anything, no leadership experience, or not the most physically fit and to see them just develop and prepare for OCS,” Ahumada-Barron said. “The really rewarding part is once they graduate OCS and seeing them come back. Once they complete that, it’s really satisfying to see them.”
Butterfield called Ahumada-Barron “a man of tremendous moral character” who is an integral part of JU’s NROTC program.
“He is mature, knowledgeable, and I rely greatly on his advice and expertise to ensure our students are prepared for future service in the Marine Corps.”
By Katie Garwood