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Pendleton Marine Named Runner-up Combat Instructor of the Year

By Cpl. Asia J. Sorenson | Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton | May 9, 2016

Staff Sergeant Albert Goodson, a combat instructor with the School of Infantry – West, will be awarded runner-up Marine Combat Instructor of the Year at a ceremony in Quantico, Virginia, May 11, 2016.

The Combat Instructor of the Year award is part of the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ Combined Awards Program, which includes a Drill Instructor of the Year, Recruiter of Year, Prior Service Recruiter of the Year, Marine Combat Instructor of the Year, Marine Security Guard of the Year and Career Retention Specialist of the Year.

“I wanted to become a combat instructor because I was always very physically driven,” said Goodson. “While I ended up in an Aviation MOS, I’ve always held near and dear the concept that every Marine is a rifleman. Though I do love the aviation side of the Marine Corps, I still wanted the opportunity to do a special duty assignment and fulfil that basic rifleman, infantry tactics and procedures proficiency that I felt I lacked due to the focus of my job in fixing aircraft.”

Selection for the CMC Combined Awards Program recognizes Marines who best exemplify those traits of leadership, devotion to duty, and professionalism sought in all Marines and examines not just how the Marine performed while on special duty assignment, but performance throughout their Marine Corps career. Those nominated for Marine Combat Instructor of the Year award compete with all Combat Instructors throughout the Marine Corps to earn the title.

“His performance here has been outstanding,” said 1st Sgt. Brice Bartlette, Acting Sgt. Maj., Marine Combat Training Battalion, School of Infantry – West. “His depth of enthusiasm, esprit de corps and motivation on a daily basis was seen both by instructors and students the entire time.”

Goodson reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina in May 2005. He graduated class Honor Graduate and was meritoriously promoted to Private First Class. He then went on to earn Honor Graduate in Marine Combat Training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Goodson was then ordered to Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL for Avionics Technician “O” Level training and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, WA for EA-6B Communication Navigation and Radar System training. During his time there he was promoted to Lance Corporal and upon graduation was assigned to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 3 in Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

In October 2006, while deployed with VMAQ-3 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) 5-7, Goodson was combat meritoriously promoted to Corporal. He deployed with the unit two more times in support operations in Iraq and was promoted to Sergeant in April of 2008 and Staff Sergeant in July of 2010.

Staff Sergeant Goodson reported to Electronic Attack Squadron 129 in September of 2010 to serve as a Prowler Quality Assurance Representative before being selected to serve as the Marine Aviation Training Support Group 53 Training and Operations Chief in January of 2011.

In January 2013, Goodson received orders to Marine Combat Instructor School at the School of Infantry - West in Camp Pendleton California. Upon graduation, he was assigned to Company H, Marine Combat Training Battalion to serve as a Combat Instructor. He is currently serving in the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Battalion Instructor Group.

“Aviation doesn’t expect to top out at the School of Infantry, let alone the Marine Corps,” said Goodson on receiving this award. “It’s a very humbling experience.”