18th MP NCO strives for excellence

by Capt. Martyn Crighton
18th Military Police Brigade

MANNHEIM, Germany — Sgt. Nicole Jenkins, a corrections officer with U.S. Army Confinement Facility-Europe, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, took the Army commercial that said “Soldiers do more before breakfast than most people do all day” to heart. She has lived it the last four years and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

Recently selected as the 2010 Army Corrections Command non-commissioned officer of the year, Sergeant Jenkins will reach four years in the Army in October but has already achieved a lot in her short time in service.

The Foxborough, Mass., native is already a member of the Sgt. Morales Club and has competed in several competitions. After winning the ACC NCO of the Year competition held Jan. 22 to 23 at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., she went on to compete as the ACC representative at the National Capital Region NCO of the Year Board held July 12 to 16 at Fort Belvoir, Va., where she placed third as the only female in a field of 14 NCOs.  

The competition included weapons qualification and reflexive fire, a physical training test, a formal board, combatives, a day and night urban land navigation course, and a long overland course with multiple stations where each competitor had to complete specific warrior tasks like first-aid and reacting to an improvised explosive device.  The challenges she faced as the lone female competitor were illustrated by her experience during the combatives double elimination tournament where she had to compete against much larger males. 

“In the first round I was paired up against a guy who weighed 215 pounds. I didn’t win but he didn’t make me tap during our five minute round.” 

Nor did she tap out when it came to taking the PT test, which was scored by the male standards. Not only did she hold her own, she outperformed every other NCO competitor. It was a grueling few days but Sergeant Jenkins said it was well worth it.

Although her successes might make it seem like she was destined to be in the Army, she did not always feel that way. It was her promotion to sergeant that was most significant, she said. 

“I didn’t know this was what I wanted to do with my life until after I got promoted to sergeant and became responsible for Soldiers,” she said.

What began as a three year commitment has become a calling and a career for Sergeant Jenkins.      

“I didn’t think it would be such a good fit, but I think it turned out for the best. I really didn’t think about law enforcement before, but I really like it,” she said. “The Military Police Corps is a really unique experience and I’m glad I got to be a part of it. You serve people, whether on the road or in the prison, who know they need you but don’t necessarily like you.” 

Since joining the Army she has received a bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of Maryland and is currently enrolled at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology where she is working on a master’s degree in forensic psychology.

Jenkins will soon be moving on from USACF-E. She has been selected to become a drill sergeant at the MP school at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where she will continue to set the standard for Soldiers.