The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence honored its Instructors of the Year for Fiscal Year 2022 in a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum Dec. 13, 2022.
Each quarter, academic Instructors, instructor pilots and noncommissioned officer flight instructors from USAACE and Fort Rucker to include the 1st Aviation Brigade, 110th Aviation Brigade, 128th Aviation Brigade, U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College, Noncommissioned Officer Academy-Fort Rucker, Noncommissioned Officer Academy - Fort Eustis, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, and the Department of Aviation Medicine, U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence are nominated by their supervisors for the honor of competing for Instructor of the Quarter.
The instructors are evaluated on quality of instruction, quality of materials developed and used, and quality of their presentation, and the Instructors of the Year are determined from these quarterly winners.
The winners for FY22 are:
• The Officer Academic Instructor of the Year is Capt. Daniel J. Kottkamp, Company D, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade.
• The Officer Flight Instructor of the Year is Chief Warrant Officer 3 Cleveland W. Upton, Company D, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment, 110th Aviation Brigade.
• The Warrant Officer Academic Instructor of the Year is CW3 Marlene A. DaCosta, Warrant Officer Training Division, 1st Battalion, 210th Aviation Regiment, 128th Aviation Brigade, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
• The Noncommissioned Officer Academic Instructor of the Year is Staff Sgt. Jeeney H. Sigrah-Ennis, Noncommissioned Officer Academy — Fort Rucker.
• The Noncommissioned Officer Flight Instructor of the Year is Staff Sgt. Adam J. Escott, Company A, 1st Battalion, 223rd Aviation Regiment, 110th Aviation Brigade.
• The Civilian Academic Instructor of the Year is Keeley J. Garcia, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center.
• The Civilian Instructor Pilot of the Year is Jeremy N. Edler, Company A, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment, 110th Aviation Brigade.
Ceremony host Brig. Gen. Stanley E. Budraitis, deputy commanding general for USAACE, congratulated the winners.
“Our instructors put the ‘excellence’ in the Aviation Center of Excellence, and these instructors that we are recognizing today are the best of the best,” he said.
Budraitis said the pursuit of excellence has always been a driving factor in our nation, and he emphasized the importance of mastering the fundamentals. He quoted former NBA athlete Michael Jordan, who said, “Get the fundamentals down, and the level of everything you do will rise.”
“The fundamentals are what we build everything else on” as Aviation Soldiers, he said. “(It) is not always the exciting part, but our ability to fight and win our nation’s wars and defend freedom around the globe depends on mastering the fundamentals.”
Budraitis explained the USAACE mission of generating highly trained, disciplined, and fit Aviation Soldiers, and developing expert leaders of combined arms maneuver who are prepared to win in multi-domain operations of the future.
“For our profession of arms to continue to be successful it has to begin with phenomenal instructors who set the example and take an authentic interest in the success of their students,” Budraitis said.
Budraitis said years from now the students will remember their instructors, and will continue to hear their voice in their head as face situations and recall their training.
“We are incredibly proud of our instructors who can take those routine learning tasks and make them engaging, because we truly are building the highest quality Soldiers, aviators, aircraft maintainers, UAS operators and maintainers, air traffic control and flight operations professionals who will be the future of our Army and our branch,” he said.
The awardees received a Certificate of Achievement, an Aviation professional journal from the Aviation Center Chapter of the Army Aviation Association of America, and gifts from sponsoring organizations.
The winners of the USAACE Academic Instructor of the Year categories are nominated to compete in the TRADOC Academic Instructor of the Year competition.