FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 14, 2014) -- A non-commissioned officer with the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence was among the first seven Soldier instructors to receive the Army Instructor Badge during a recognition ceremony in Alexandria, Va. July 17.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Johnson, who serves as a senior small group leader and instructor for the Army's Aviation Logistics NCO Academy at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., was one of the instructors recognized by the Army Chief of Staff and Sergeant Major of the Army for their participation in U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's Instructor Development and Recognition Program.

Command Sgt. Major Eric C. Thom, USAACE Command Sergeant Major said Johnson represents the high quality NCO instructor cadre across Army Aviation.

"He is an excellent representation of the instructors we have at USAACE. He is the first one that's being recognized, and he certainly will not be the last," Thom said.

The IDRP was designed by TRADOC's Institute for NCO Professional Development. The intent is to coach, mentor and train instructors who teach at Army non-commissioned officer academies.

"Our Soldiers are the best at what they do because of the training they receive from world-class instructors," said Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, TRADOC's command sergeant major. "These first seven Army Instructor Badge recipients represent the thousands of dedicated professionals in our Army who teach, coach and mentor tomorrow's future leaders."

As a 15K, Johnson teaches the advanced leader course and senior leader course. He is responsible for the health and welfare of the students under his charge, and serves as an instructor for common Aviation maintenance across 13 Aviation maintenance military occupation specialties.

Johnson said the Army is moving toward the Army Learning Model 2015, which involves more hands-on and student group-led learning, where the role of instructor-facilitator is key.

"In ALC I didn't know maybe some of the flight requirements for the individuals that fly. Through facilitation, the instructor is learning too, and uses those skills that he takes from the students and builds a better lesson plan for the next class. You can see the fruits of the program already. It's better for the instructor and the student," Johnson said.

To receive the award, a Soldier must have already met the qualifications and been selected to work at an NCO Academy. Beyond that, it's a test of quality instruction, ability to manage and coordinate Soldiers, complete coursework and facilitation hours, and attain high marks overall.

"You need to be a subject matter expert in your field, but that is Army Aviation and not necessarily your MOS. You have to be able to instruct in front of seniors and peers effectively and provide relevant information.

"I think where instructors lack is not going above, really digging into a lesson plan and changing that lesson plan to make it more relevant and a better environment for learning," Johnson said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Lloyd G. Morant, commandant of the Aviation Logistics NCO Academy, said he is proud of the recognition Johnson received.

"He's done a tremendous job for us across the board and made a positive and lasting impact on the Aviation Branch," Morant said.

Johnson said he is grateful for the mentorship of several NCOs, including his commandant who selected him. Johnson believes the skills he has learned will make him more articulate and a better facilitator in his next Army job.

"I've grown so much. It's high stress and a lot of moving parts, but extremely rewarding," Johnson said.