CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Sgt. 1st Class Lester Kent received the First Army Academy Observer Coach/Trainer Instructor of the Year award during a presentation here Nov. 29.

"[Winning] means a lot because I worked hard for this," Kent said.

The New Orleans native bested three of his peers to win the two-day competition, which included evaluations on classroom instruction, a board and proficiency tests in Warrior Tasks and Drills.

The First Army Academy provides instruction and validation of the core competencies required of OC/Ts to ensure standardization for leaders as they train Soldiers at home stations and deployment mobilization centers and provide world-class training across the force.

"Sgt. 1st Class Kent is an exceptional instructor," said FAA first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Stephanie Mcadoo-Duff. "He has an engaging presence while teaching, and he has a lot of knowledge, so it's no surprise that he won."

Kent's presence and the foundation for his teaching style are the result of his four-year assignment at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, at the U.S. Army Firefighter School.

According to Command Sgt. Maj. John Lambert Jr., the FAA's senior enlisted advisor, the Academy provides 23 cycles of instruction to more than 1,600 OC/T Soldiers annually.

Lambert added that he takes pride in having a team that excels at knowing how to become facilitators rather than just instructors, a philosophy that reinforces the impact First Army has across the force.

"Being an instructor at the FAA allows me a chance to give knowledge that influences other Soldiers," Kent said. "What we are teaching here affects our Army as a whole."