FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Dec. 10, 2021) – Seven instructors were honored at the Fires Center of Excellence and Marine Corps Artillery Detachment Instructor and Curriculum Developer of the Year recognition ceremony Dec. 10 at the Cache Creek Chapel.
The instructor of the Year Award highlights superior mentorship and teaching ability of those who train and educate our warfighters to meet the needs of the current and future force. They prepare Soldiers Marines, noncommissioned officers, Warrant Officers and officers to fight tonight.
Brig. Gen. Andrew Preston, commandant, United States Army Field Artillery School, chief of the Field Artillery, and deputy commanding general of the Fires Center of Excellence spoke to the instructors and audience members.
“Some of us here have been instructors and all of us have been students. Teaching is a tough job and being agile and relatable to a spectrum of students is no small task,” said Preston. “The instructors and facilitators being recognized today were chosen out of 586 instructors currently teaching on Fort Sill and that’s no small accomplishment. To be singled out among many and to stand out among many outstanding instructors as one of the best is an amazing achievement.”
Preston said the instructors recognized during the ceremony are Soldiers, Marines and civilians who represent the very best of the instructors at Fort Sill and the FCoE.
“This is a significant award. Our schoolhouse is a world-renowned institution, largely because our instructors shaped the leaders of the future in the best way to build positive and inspired future generations both on a local and global scale,” said Preston. “They utilize real-world experience cultivated over years of deployments and training events to ensure the next generation of Soldiers and leaders are ready to do their job and do it well. They maintain relevance by staying current with updated doctrine and use vignettes to make situations real for Soldiers. It takes a tremendous amount of patience as they instruct the entire spectrum of the fires force from the fresh recruit to the seasoned veteran.”
This year these competitors displayed exemplary talent and skill through their instruction and the curriculum they developed for a variety of students from all services and allied nations.
FCoE Officer Instructor of the Year, Capt. Angelos Katsaitis, 1st Battalion, 30th Field Artillery.
FCoE Noncommissioned Officer Instructor of the Year, Staff Sgt. Joshua Gallegos, Noncommissioned Officer Academy.
FCoE Military Curriculum Developer of the Year, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Randazzo, Directorate of Training and Doctrine.
FCoE Civilian Instructor of the Year, Dr. Omar Salaam, Directorate of Training and Doctrine.
FCoE Civilian Curriculum Developer of the Year, Maresa Hill, Directorate of Training and Doctrine.
MARDET Instructor of the Year, Staff Sgt. Gino Morato, Marine Artillery Detachment.
MARDET Curriculum Developer of the Year, Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Botelho, Marine Artillery Detachment.
Capt. Angelos Katsaitis said he thinks the fact that he is a Signal Corps officer teaching combined arms instruction for the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leadership Course is why he won instructor of the year.
“I'm in a unique spot because I'm a Signal Corps officer at the Field Artillery Branch schoolhouse. So I'm my own little island here, in the Combined Arms department, I'm the only signal officer instructing at the schoolhouse. So, I have a unique perspective to give to the students who are starting off as junior lieutenants in their military career, to show them how field artillery and the signal community are intertwined,” said Katsaitis. “I've been playing several roles all at once -- instructor, senior signal officer for the battalion as well as the primary person responsible for in-processing and receiving students when they first arrive.”
He said they teach a little bit of instruction on signal, movement in maneuver, troop-leading procedures and common core aspects of officer leadership. He supports the students in their basic development and communication skills by teaching them effective briefing styles and techniques, showing them what skills they're going to need to be prepared for when they take a platoon right out the gate.
“I leverage my technical skills as a signal officer to show them what types of equipment they're going to be exposed, to and how they'll use that moving forward,” said Katsaitis.
“I would like to say it's been a privilege to work for the 428th Field Artillery Brigade in the 1st Battalion, 30th Field Artillery Regiment, and it has been an honor to have an impact on the junior officer’s initial step in their career,” he added.
The winners of the instructor of the year Fires Center of Excellence competition will go on to compete in the TRADOC Instructor of the Year Competition held in the spring of 2022.
Check out all the photos from the ceremony at https://flickr.com/photos/fortsillcannoneeer/albums/72157720232893514.