FORT LEE, Va. (June 23, 2016) -- More than 100 noncommissioned officers from the Ordnance School here received Army Instructor Badges at a June 16 ceremony on Whittington Parade Field.

The badges are a “mark of excellence” that reflect the recipient’s technical knowledge and ability to teach and mentor Soldiers, according to Dr. Richard Armstrong, director of training and deputy to the Ordnance School commandant, who gave remarks at the ceremony.

“Being an instructor is not easy,” he said. “The days are long, starting well before the first class is in session and continuing after the last class leaves for the day. You are expected to be a subject matter expert in what you teach. You are expected to understand how young people learn. You are expected to know how to interact with students and how to handle discipline problems or SHARP incidents. You have to complete course work and train under an experienced instructor just to get certified. It’s a level of effort that deserves greater recognition, which is a large part of what the instructor badge program is meant to provide.”

Five individuals – Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Palmer, Staff Sgt. Tallon Howard, Staff Sgt. Manuelito Skipper, Staff Sgt. Doyle Coffman and Sgt. Travis O’Brien – were presented master-level badges at the ceremony. They join an elite group of only 37 other MAIB recipients under the Ord. School umbrella, according to Armstrong. About 30 individuals received senior-level badges and the remainder (70-plus) were awarded basic-level badges at the event.

Steps to qualify for the master badge include at least 400 hours of teaching time (in addition to the 400 hours required for senior certification); completion of the advanced facilitator skills course or faculty development program and the evaluating instructors’ workshop; acing two classroom evaluations; meeting Army fitness standards; and more. While the requirement for lower-level badges (basic and senior) are fewer in number, they can be equally demanding. Demonstrating the ability to write a lesson plan, for example, is one of the steps to achieve mid-level certification.

“You don’t get here without the help of great mentors,” noted Howard, a Fire Control Division instructor in the Armament and Electronics Training Department. “When I arrived at the Ord. School, I met Master Instructor Alan Bodle and knew right away he was someone I could go to for advice and technical assistance. That’s another plus of this program. It encourages interaction and learning between senior and junior levels. Now that I’m a master instructor, I hope others look up to me for similar mentorship. I’m ready to pay it forward.”

Today’s downsizing Army also demands higher caliber Soldiers who are motivated to perform above the standard. That knowledge, said MAIB recipient O’Brien – a Track, Metalworking and Recovery Department instructor – should be the impetus for greater achievement.

“The badge represents the hard work and dedication of myself and my team,” he said. I feel it shows we are great instructors and are able to pass our knowledge to subordinate Soldiers in an effective way.

“This will affect the rest of my career,” he added. “The badge reflects the knowledge and experience I have in my (military occupational specialty). It makes me proud to be able to stand in front of junior Soldiers wearing the MAIB. I’m proud of what I achieved in such a short time, and I’m ready for the next steps in my career.”