FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker officials and Families came out to honor the post instructors that received the awards for Fort Rucker Academic Instructor/Instructor Pilot of the Year, at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum, Dec. 13.

"You are the key to the Army's success," said Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, referring to the winners of the award as he set the tone for the ceremony.

He emphasized the important role that the instructor plays in the development of Soldiers.

"Nothing is more important to me than making sure that the highly qualified Aviation professionals are trained by [other] highly qualified aviation professionals. "You are instructing the future of not only the Army, but our Branch," Crutchfield said.

The general spoke of the individual strength and character of the instructors by quoting a former mentor.

"You cannot fake passion. You can't…because people will see right through you. Today's Soldiers are the smartest in history and we can only be successful in keeping that capability with instructors, no matter what your rank or whether you're civilian or not, we can't do it without you-- [the instructor]," he said.

The awards were given for Academic Instructor of the Year, Instructor Pilot of the Year and Flight Instructor of the Year, in four categories: officer, warrant officer, noncommissioned officer and civilian, according to Henry Spohrer, instructor programs manager.

"The instructors must first be chosen as Instructors of the Quarter before being eligible for the Instructor of the Year award," he said. "At the end of the year, the staff and faculty of the training and technologies branch do a review of the quarterly winners, and select the instructors with the highest scores to determine the winners for Instructor of the Year."

The winners of the Academic Instructor of the Year were: CW3 Philip G. Kraemer, warrant officer category; Sgt. 1st Class Adam F. Mauro, NCO category; and James E. Baker, the civilian category.

The Instructor Pilot of the Year winners were: CW2 Nicholas A. Missler, officer category; and Daniel A. Fessler, civilian category.

Sgt. 1st Class Edgar A. Alvarado was honored with the Flight Instructor of the Year award.

"It blows me away to stand up on stage as Instructor Pilot of the Year when I know there are so many other instructor pilots that are absolutely amazing instructors," said Missler.

He expressed how honored he was to be recognized for this award because it shows that Fort Rucker and USAACE care about their training program. "They recognize the passion and dedication that every instructor has that receives this award."

"There are a lot of great instructors," added Kraemer, "especially those I've worked with at the Warrant Officer Career College, so I can imagine that the post-wide competition was tough."

He wants to encourage other instructors to get involved and to try and achieve the award.

"Other instructors need to get the support of their leadership to find out what they need to do to get this award," he said. "You never know what you can achieve until you get up there and try it."

"Instructors inspire, motivate and teach people to go forth and do great things," said CW4 Paul/M. Sivacek, 2010 Warrant Officer Academic Instructor of the Year, who later went on to be named TRADOC Instructor of the Year.

"It's very powerful, but which is really more powerful?" he asked. "The person who goes forth and does individual things, or the person who inspires thousands to go forth and do these things around the world?"

Crutchfield also emphasized the impact that the instructors have on the Soldiers they teach.

"Every successful leader must first be a successful follower," he said. "We never stop learning, and when you exude that learning spirit, Soldiers see you and live by your example.

"They will remember your names," the general added. "For all of you sitting here today, that name will be remembered in excellence."