FORT LEE, Va. (Aug. 18, 2016) — Twenty-four noncommissioned officers from the Quartermaster School received Army Instructor Badges at an Aug. 11 ceremony in the Petroleum and Water Department’s Guest Auditorium.
Staff Sgt. Michael Johnson – a faculty member of the Logistics Training Department until his Aug. 1 departure for a permanent change of station move to Fort Drum, N.Y. – joined an elite group of 12 individuals in the QM Corps who have pinned their senior badge.
“Without a doubt, moments like these are a big deal for the regiment,” emphasized Col. Tamatha Patterson, 23rd QM Brigade commander, during remarks.
“A downsizing Army demands a higher caliber Soldier who is willing to perform above the standard … that is what you have exemplified,” Patterson said. “This badge also is a symbol of instructional excellence; your ability to effectively pass knowledge on to subordinates so they arrive at their first unit of assignment confident, ready and competently able to perform their jobs. That is truly a big deal.”
Not everybody can be, or should be, an Army instructor, the colonel noted. It’s a job that requires the highest levels of professionalism, adherence to military values and a natural ability to influence the mindset of initial entry Soldiers.
“Qualifying is tough and being on the platform is tougher,” Patterson said. “Your days are long, starting well before the first class is in session and continuing long after the last class leaves for the day. You are expected to be a subject matter expert in what you teach, and you are expected to understand how young people learn. You are expected to know how to interact with students and how to handle disciplinary problems or SHARP incidents; and oh-by-the-way, you have to complete a demanding workload and train under an experienced instructor just to get certified to stand on the platform.”
After reading several lines from the Army’s NCO Creed, Patterson confirmed every word of it is true. “You mold the future of the Army each and every day,” she said. “Everything our Soldiers know about the Army is what you have shown them. … You touch hundreds or more likely thousands of Soldiers throughout your instructional time. So, I want you to hold your heads up high and be very proud, and never stop striving to be the best in all you do each day. Remember, the legacy you create will be seen in the future of our Army formations.”
Reacting to his senior badge award after the ceremony, Johnson said, “I see it as validation of what I’ve strived to do every day, which is being an effective trainer and leader in my career field (92-Alpha, automated logistical specialist).
“I am certainly humbled by this recognition and the (QM) School taking the time to honor us today,” the 17-year-Soldier continued, “but it’s just part of the job if you really think about it. We owe the military students who come to Fort Lee the very best in training and leadership. My job was to bring that to the table; bring that to the students.”
Johnson noted six others in LTD are on the glidepath to senior badge certification, which further convinces him fame and glory should go to the group, not the individual.
“The badge is a statement about being the best we can be at this business – that’s it, short and simple,” said the Cumberland, Ky., native. “To fellow instructors who are considering whether they should go for the badge or not, I offer this advice. The program itself is voluntary but the job isn’t. You are part of the NCO corps and people are expecting you to make a difference. Also, you’re already doing what you need to do to earn certification, you just need to make sure it’s properly documented and submitted. Go ahead and shoot for that star. Do it for yourself as much as your organization. Take pride in promoting that you’re the very best.”
Under the Instructor Development and Recognition Program, three badge levels – basic, senior and master – are available to credentialed trainers. Basic badge requirements include completion of TRADOC instructor certification, at least 80 hours of platform time and two classroom evaluations. The senior badge checklist includes another 400 hours of platform time, completion of two additional training courses, a lesson plan rewrite and another set of classroom evaluations.
Photo credit: Col. Tamatha Patterson, 23rd Quartermaster Brigade commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmie Sellers, QM Regimental CSM, pose with the honorees of an Aug. 11 ceremony in the Petroleum and Water Department’s Guest Auditorium at Fort Lee, Virginia. Twenty-four noncommissioned officers received Army Instructor Badges at the event. Staff Sgt. Michael Johnson, center, was the sole senior badge recipient. (Photo by Patrick Buffett)