Drill Instructor Spotlight: Sgt. Nadia Sensing stands tall against competition

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island

Story by Russell Midori

It may be her voice, her body language or her intent expressions that recruits and Marines alike can’t help but pay attention when Sgt. Nadia Sensing is “on deck.”

She is a loud, poised and physically fit Martial Arts Instructor at Leatherneck Square and she demands the same volume, intensity and warrior mentality from the recruits under her charge.

“My method of working with recruits is to lead by example,” said Sensing, who grew up in Fulton, K.Y. “If I make them scream, I’m going to scream. If I want to see their intensity, I’m going to show them my intensity. And I always want to see their intensity.”

Sensing has worked as a Parris Island drill instructor for about a year and half, but she spent the summer teaching the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program to Marines and recruits. She is the only female MAI working at Leatherneck Square.

“She is fearless,” said Gunnery Sergeant Michael Rae, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of Leatherneck Square.

“She doesn’t shy away from any type of challenge.”

Rae, of Toledo, Ohio, said her aggression and enthusiasm inspire the Marines with whom she works.

“She has everything you ever hoped to see in a Marine,” he said. “Sgt. Sensing is the type of person you’d want standing next to you in battle.”

Marines and sailors often show up to Leatherneck Square specifically to endure her brand of training, Rae said. One of her students, Pfc. David Porter, is the only current member of Basic Marine Platoon to have earned a Gray Belt, largely thanks to Sensing’s instruction.

Porter, of Riverhead, N.Y., said he is grateful for someone with her dedication to guide him in his young career.

“You can look at Sgt. Sensing and tell right off the bat that she is a warrior,” he said. “You might think warriors are brash and reckless, but it’s a controlled chaos. She always has absolute control and discipline. People see that, and that’s where the respect comes from.”  Read more here