The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence conducted a combined virtual and in-person ceremony honoring its top instructors for the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2021, and its FY 2021 overall USAACE Instructors of the Year at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum Dec. 16, 2021.
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.
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 the quarterly winners.
The FY 2021 4th Quarter winners are:
• The Noncommissioned Officer Academic Instructor of the Quarter is Staff Sgt. Manuel A. Sanchez, 1st Aviation Brigade (Fort Hauchuca, Ariz.).
• The Civilian Academic Instructor o the Quarter is Alexander A. Tejada, 128th Aviation Brigade (Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.).
The FY 2021 Instructor of the Year winners are:
• The Officer Academic Instructor of the Year is Capt. Edmund C. Preisser, 1st Aviation Brigade.
• The Officer Flight Instructor of the Year is Chief Warrant Officer 2 Zachary A. Eichhorn, 110th Aviation Brigade.
• The NCO Flight Instructor of the Year is Staff Sgt. Amanda L. Wallace, 110th Aviation Brigade.
• The NCO Academic Instructor of the Year is Staff Sgt. Alvin Santiago Centeno, 110th Aviation Brigade.
• The Civilian Academic Instructor of the Year is Alexander A. Tejada, 128th Aviation Brigade (Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.).
• The Civilian Instructor Pilot of the Year is Robert R. Foor, II, 110th Aviation Brigade.
Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general, welcomed attendees, and lauded the impact made by instructors who go beyond teaching to inspire their students.
“They lead from the cockpit and the classroom and epitomize the type of instructor that we need as we continue to modernize the training and education that will shape our Army and aviation warfighters,” Francis said.
“They train our pilots, our maintainers, our (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) operators and maintainers …. These instructors work at Fort Rucker, Fort Huachuca, and Joint Base Langley-Eustis. It’s our pleasure today to honor the best and the brightest from across our aviation enterprise and our training enterprise,” he said.
Instructors play a critical role in the USAACE mission to drive change and develop leaders by producing agile and adaptive aviation professionals, integrate aviation capabilities and requirements, and enable commanders and soldiers on the ground to fight and win.
Army Aviation is integral to the combined arms team as the Army continues its modernization efforts to transition from two decades of counterinsurgency operations to focus on winning in large scale combat operations, Francis explained.
“We have to keep our focus on supporting the ground force commander. We have to consistently adapt our professional military education, our flight training and maintenance to better develop agile leaders and Soldiers who are prepared to fight and win in complex environments,” Francis said.
As the nation faces threats to its national security across all domains, Army aviation must continue to “grow competent, confident and innovative Soldiers and leaders,” and refines its doctrine, standard operating procedures, and tactics for the future fight, he said.
“Our Soldiers will be prepared to incorporate advances in technology, capability, and effectively employ them on the battlefield. All of that preparation begins right here with our outstanding instructors that make it happen every day,” Francis said.
Francis said the branch is stronger because of the instructors’ legacy of leadership and instruction.
“Your students will use you as the bench mark against what all other instructors and leaders are measured,” he said. “Know that every one of you has made an immeasurable impact first toward your students, and then by your students’ future contributions …. You are our instructors of the year, and we are better for it.”
During the event, just before the instructors took center stage to be recognized, a prerecorded video played that featured each of the individual instructors.
The instructors received a Certificate of Achievement and gifts from sponsoring organizations.