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Massaponax grad is 2019 Military Instructor of the Year finalist


A 2006 graduate of Massaponax High School and Fredericksburg, native was announced as a 2019 Military Instructor of the Year (MIOY) finalist in the officer category for Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) at a ceremony onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, Jan. 23.

Lt. Cmdr. Veronica Baker is an instructor at Navy Service Support Advanced Training Command, Virginia Beach, Virginia, where her exceptional instructional skills led to the graduation of 288 sailors in the Navy Instructor Training Course.

“As an instructor for the Navy Instructor Training Course, at a learning site with a throughput of approximately 1,200 students, I take pride in knowing I directly impact the quality of instruction our Sailor and Marines receive out in the fleet,” said Baker.

Baker was one of 10 Sailors who competed for the title of NETC MIOY, representing the top achievers from a pool of more than 8,000 military members in MyNavy HR Force Development that spans recruiting and training Sailors in an increasingly competitive talent market. She received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for her achievements.

As the Region East director, she leads and manages five geographically dispersed learning sites and 66 personnel responsible for the instruction of 24 professional development, supply and administration courses. Her efforts ensured they delivered over 3,500 podium hours.

“These courses influence the lives of every Sailor who utilizes the services of their command’s DAPA (Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor) and CMEO (Command Managed Equal Opportunity), as well as influences the training of the logistics specialist, retail services specialist, culinary specialist, personnel specialist and yeoman ratings,” said Baker. “Due to the scope of my current position, I find my job extremely rewarding, and I do not take lightly the responsibility I have to the fleet and its Sailors and Marines.”

Baker is part of the team that takes Sailors from “street to fleet” by transforming civilians into highly skilled, operational, and combat-ready warfighters, as well as providing the tools and opportunities for continuous learning and development.

NETC Commander Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad congratulated the finalists for their roles in developing the Navy’s future force and for their contributions to the Force Development mission.

“As we recognize the outstanding contributions of these individuals, it is also fitting to reflect upon the critical role each of them plays in support of Fleet readiness,” said Cozad. “Your hard work and professionalism produce the best Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen in the world. I truly appreciate your personal commitment in meeting the continuous and evolving needs of our Navy and Marine Corps team.”

Baker has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and a master’s degree in manpower systems analysis from Naval Postgraduate School, Monterrey, California.

Baker is also qualified as a master training specialist, which is a designation for demonstrating highly effective teaching skills and a comprehensive understanding of schoolhouse management, as well as for taking a leadership role in mentoring, instructing and evaluating instructors and curriculum. She helped guide five other instructors to attain this qualification.

“These outstanding Sailors and Marines were selected from an extremely talented field of candidates who epitomize the honor, courage, and commitment of military personnel throughout MyNavy HR Force Development,” said NETC Force Master Chief Karim Cole.

The NETC MIOY program recognize Sailors throughout the NETC domain who exhibit attributes, such as sustained superior performance, leadership, mentorship, knowledge and teaching of military history and heritage, self-improvement, command and community involvement, and exemplary military bearing.

For additional information on the Naval Education and Training Command, visit the NETC website: or Follow us on Facebook at

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