The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence honored its Instructors of the Year for Fiscal Year 2020 in a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum Dec. 14.
Each quarter, academic instructors, instructor pilots and noncommissioned officer flight instructors from USAACE and Fort Rucker are nominated by their supervisors for the honor of competing for Instructor of the Quarter.
Organizations included the 1st Aviation Brigade, 110th Aviation Brigade, 128th Aviation Brigade, Warrant Officer Career College, School of Army Aviation Medicine, NCO Academy- Fort Rucker, NCO Academy- Fort Eustis, and U.S. Army Combat Readiness/ Safety Center.
They 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. The Instructors of the Year are determined from these quarterly winners.
The winners for Fiscal Year 2020 are:
· The Officer Academic Instructor of the Year is Capt. Roger M. Willett, A Co., 1-145th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade.
· The Officer Flight Instructor of the Year is Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kenneth S. Hay, C Co., 1-212th Aviation Regiment, 110th Aviation Brigade.
· The Warrant Officer Academic Instructor of the Year is Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brandon M. Pankuch, B Co., 1-145th Aviation Regiment., 1st Aviation Brigade.
· The Noncommissioned Officer Flight Instructor of the Year is Sgt. 1st Class Ryan L Cheek, A Co., 1-223d Aviation Regiment, 110th Aviation Brigade.
· The Noncommissioned Officer Academic Instructor of the Year is Staff Sgt. Michael A. Arnett, USAACE Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Fort Eustis, Va.
· The Civilian Academic Instructor of the Year is Christopher L. Crews, C Co., 1-13th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade.
· The Civilian Instructor Pilot of the Year is Vincent A. Holbrook, A Co.,1-223d Aviation Regiment, 110th Aviation Brigade.
In his remarks, Brig. Gen. Stanley E. Budraitis, deputy commanding general, USAACE and Fort Rucker congratulated the winners.
The USAACE trains and develops agile and adaptive Aviation leaders and professionals to maintain a shared understanding and trust with commanders and Soldiers on the ground, Budraitis explained.
“We accomplish this mission through our talented and passionate instructors,” Budraitis said.
“We’re here to acknowledge the greatest of our great instructors, or as we refer to them here at the home of Army aviation, those instructors that are truly ‘Above the Best.’”
Budraitis noted the phrase in the Army Song, “and the Army goes rolling along.” The Army continues to move forward and develop, he explained.
“As we move forward focused on new challenges based on emerging threats and near-peer adversaries, we must remain focused on our core mission to train and develop aviation leaders,” he said.
Budraitis explained the Army must remain the greatest, most lethal land fighting force on earth because Soldiers protect and defend America.
America promotes peace, freedom and democracy around the globe, he explained.
“Though not perfect, America is without a doubt the greatest nation that has ever existed,” he said.
Every Aviation leader and Soldier is trained within the USAACE, which also carries out the motto of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, “Victory Starts Here.” Whether they are in a command post, a control tower, a maintenance hangar or flying in a cockpit, Aviation warfighters must be trained proficiently.
“It is due to our world class, professional and passionate instructors that enable our Army and our branch to remain the absolute best in the world,” Budraitis said.
Instructors teach Soldiers to be technically and tactically proficient, and develop people from diverse backgrounds to embrace the Army’s values and a culture built on trust, training them how to build cohesive teams when they depart USAACE and enter the operational Army, Budraitis explained.
“You are inspiring the future leaders of the Aviation branch and our Army, and for that we applaud you,” he said.
The ceremony was conducted with limited in person attendees and broadcast virtually via social media.
During the event, each instructor took center stage to be recognized. A prerecorded video highlighting the individual instructors was also shown.
Each winner received a Certificate of Achievement for excellence in training while serving as an instructor at USAACE, for their professionalism, dedication to duty and technical expertise that contributed to the success of their unit and USAACE. The winners also received gifts from sponsoring organizations.