By Mr. Jeff Crawley (IMCOM)May 19, 2017
FORT SILL, Okla., May 19, 2017 -- A Fort Sill warrant officer was named the Training and Doctrine Command's Warrant Officer Instructor of the Year for Fiscal 2016.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kristy Fair, 1st Battalion, 30th Field Artillery, is an instructor/writer for the FA Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC), which is under the Warrant Officer Instruction Branch (WOIB).
She competed against warrant officers from the other Army's centers of excellence.
Fair said she was surprised to win.
"Honestly, once my packet was submitted, I forgot all about it because I got engrossed by my class," she said. One day she opened an email and said, "Oh my God, I won."
About 90 percent of her job is instructing the Army's newest FA Warrant Officer students, who just graduated from initial warrant officer training at Fort Rucker, Ala. She is also responsible for writing the WOBC's programs of instruction, which she is currently rewriting, said Fair, whose enlisted Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was as a Field Artillery Meteorological Crewmember.
The seven-month WOBC prepares new warrants to work as 131A targeting technicians at any echelon from brigade and below, Fair said. She said she believes the biggest transition from enlisted to warrant is officership.
"Most of the students have 10-plus years (as enlisted) when they come here, so they may be set in their ways," she said. "So now it's teaching them what's expected from them as an officer, how to conduct themselves as such, and how to integrate with the commissioned officers as well as other warrant officers, and networking in the warrant officer cohort."
Early in the course, about one month of WOBC is spent on this transition, she said.
Her students not only come from field artillery MOSs, but a couple infantry MOSs, as well as cavalry scouts. One class included seven Marines.
A normal class load is 18 students, but Fair's last class, which was done during the competition's evaluation period, had 24 students.
And each WOBC instructor has his or her students the entire day from 6:30 a.m. Physical Readiness Training to the lunch break to the 5 p.m. end of class -- teaching every subject.
The common core course subjects include: Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, equal opportunity, writing, communications, and leadership.
They also teach the warrant specialty-specific training, which for 131A includes: target acquisition planning, Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems, Joint automated Deep Operations Coordination Systems, and Command Post of the Future, said Fair, who rose to the rank of E-7 within six years.
What's the best part of teaching?
"What I really enjoy is watching the students progress as they go through the course becoming more confident and competent," she said.
The most challenging part of teaching is resourcing, Fair said.
"Just making sure you have got enough computers, internet ports," she said. "When I had that class of 24 students, if one of the computers broke I didn't have any spares."
Fair said she realized she enjoyed teaching after she went through the Army Basic Instructor Course, and Small Group Leader Course, which both used the Army Learning Model methodology. It identified different student learning styles and how to address those, as well as dynamic interaction with students' own experiences to enhance the training.
"That was golden for me, I had just completed college classes on adult learning and it was the same thing," she said.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ferman Barnes, WOIB instructor/writer, has known Fair for 10 years, and they worked together in Germany. He described her as an awesome instructor.
"She's very knowledgeable, heavily experienced," said Barnes. "She comes with a wealth of influence and inspiration to the students."
He added that she never lets any of her students get behind, but takes the time to develop every one of them.
Fair said she tells her 131A cohorts to consider coming to Fort Sill to teach.
"It's a very rewarding job," she said. "I look at it like I'm training my replacements, and I feel good about the guys that I'm pushing out into the field."
Fair will be formally recognized at TRADOC Headquarters during a commander's forum Aug. 3-4, at Fort Eustis, Va. She will be presented a commander's 4-star note, certificate of achievement, and plaque from the TRADOC commander.