FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Jan. 7, 2015) -- Five Soldiers and two civilian instructors were honored as truly "Above the Best" as they were recognized as Academic Instructors and Instructor Pilots of the Year during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum Dec. 15.

Each quarter, academic instructors, instructor pilots and NCO flight instructors from around the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence community, including the Warrant Officer Career College, U.S. Army School of Medicine, NCO Academy and U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, are nominated by their supervisors for the honor of competing for instructor of the year, according to the narrator during the ceremony. The instructors are evaluated on quality of instruction, quality of materials developed and used, and quality of their presentation.

After all evaluations are completed, scores are compiled, and winners of the quarterly competitions are selected and the instructors of the year are determined from these quarterly winners.

Each instructor of the year was presented with a certificate of achievement by Maj. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general, which reads, "For excellence in training while serving as an instructor at the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence. Your professionalism, dedication to duty, and technical expertise contributed to the success of the 1st Aviation Brigade and the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence. Your actions reflect great credit upon you, this command, and the United States Army."

The Officer Academic Instructor of the Year was awarded Capt. Cara Coleman, U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine. Coleman is an academic instructor who teaches aeromedical adaptability; behavioral health in Aviation; ethical considerations; stress and fatigue; aeromedical policy letters; Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape psychology; psychological disorders in Aviation; and traumatic event management for the aeromedical psychology training course, flight surgeon course, flight medic course and pre-command course.

The Warrant Officer Academic Instructor of the Year went to CW4 Victor Negron, Warrant Officer Career College. Negron is an academic instructor teaching Army leadership; building teams; code of conduct; creative and critical thinking; equal opportunity; mitigating risk of suicide; professional military ethics; Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention; values and professional obligations; negotiation; and institutional resilience training for the Warrant Officer Candidate Course and the Warrant Officer Intermediate Level Education Course.

The award for Officer Instructor Pilot of the Year went to CW3 David Litteken, D Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment, 110th Aviation Brigade. Litteken is a flight instructor teaching instructor fundamentals; aircraft operation systems; limitations; emergency procedures aerodynamics; aeromedical; night missions and night vision goggle operation and deployment; tactical operations; mission and weapon systems operation; and employment for the instructor pilot course.

The NCO Academic Instructor of the Year was awarded to Staff Sgt. Jason Perry, D Co., 2nd Bn., 13th Avn. Regt., 1st Avn. Bde. Perry is an academic instructor who teaches enabling skills branch; basic electrical theory; shadow unmanned aircraft systems ground systems maintenance; shadow UAS maintenance and inspections; flight operations; and fault isolation for the UAS repairer course.

The NCO Flight Instructor of the Year is Staff Sgt. Richard Hasenpflug, F Co., 1st Bn., 212th Avn. Regt., 110th Avn. Bde. Hasenpflug is a flight instructor teaching the T-700 engine; hydraulics and flight controls; fuel and refueling; auxiliary power unit; aircrew training program; instructional presentations; instructional fundamentals; aircrew coordination training enhanced; and flight instruction for the UH-60 aircraft crewmember standard instruction course.

The Civilian Flight Instructor of the Year went to Robert Schuler, D Co., 1st Bn., 14th Avn. Regt., 110th Avn. Bde. Schuler is a flight instructor who teaches flight simulations; flight performance; infrared; radar; weapon systems; precision control flight maneuvering; and combined arms doctrine development for the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter instructor pilot course.

The Civilian Academic Instructor of the Year was awarded to Daniel Rawlings, C Co., 1st Bn., 223rd Avn. Regt., 110th Avn. Bde. Rawlings is an academic instructor who teaches MI-17 orientation; publications; servicing; structure and airframe; landing gear; flight control; rotors; hydraulics; electrical; fuel; power plant; drivetrain; logbook and passports; special tools; inspections; avionics; instruments; and autopilot for the MI-17 systems maintenance course, aircraft qualification course, flight engineer course and instructor pilot course.

In addition to the certificates of achievement, each instructor of the year was presented gifts from various organizations, including clay eagles, bronze eagles, and engraved pen and pencil sets from the Aviation Chapter of the Army Aviation Association of America, the Wiregrass Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army and the Above the Best Chapter of the U.S. Army Warrant Officers Association.