FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (June 4, 2015) -- A Fort Leonard Wood noncommissioned officer became the first of three instructors on post to be awarded the Senior Army Instructor Badge.

Sgt. 1st Class Jeffery Schultz, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Noncommissioned Officers Academy, Military Police Senior Leaders Course, was pinned with the badge April 24. A ceremony Friday honored his fellow instructors.

Also earning the right to wear the SAIB were Sgt. 1st Class Michael Gibson, MP SLC instructor, and Staff Sgt. Axel Castellanos of the MP's Advanced Leader Course.

The three are the only instructors of more than 80 instructors in the NCOA who have completed the criteria to wear the badge that was authorized last December.

There are three levels of badges -- basic, senior and master instructor.

"Hours on the platform change from course to course," said 1st Sgt. Bernell Zorn Jr., Military Police Senior Leader Course, MSCoE NCOA. "It takes most instructors two to three years to earn the minimum amount of hours, evaluations and additional courses needed to earn the senior badge.

According to Zorn, most instructors leave Fort Leonard Wood with only the basic badge. All three instructors bucked that trend. Castellanos has been an instructor for two years, while Schultz and Gibson have 2 and 1/2 years teaching.

"I am proud of our small group leaders' achievement, said Command Sgt. Maj. Alma Zeladaparedes, NCOA commandant. "The senior instructor badge is a symbol of their ability as the 'lead' facilitator for a course. It represents the rigorous hours they committed to leading, developing, training, analyzing, mediating and facilitating our Army leaders."

Zeladaparedes said she is thankful for the combined efforts of the first sergeants, chief of training and the training analyst. "They are responsible for developing the classroom facilitation skills and competencies of our instructors," she said.

Only the top 10 percent of NCO instructors have the ability to earn the senior instructor badge, according to Zorn. Awardees of the badge must have an additional 400 hours of instructions as a primary instructor and complete additional courses, plus requirements outlined in Army and U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command regulations.