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Two From ODU's Army and Naval ROTC Programs Honored as National Instructors of the Year

It's a double coup for Old Dominion University's ROTC program.

Both the Army and Naval ROTC units on campus recently had officer instructors named national instructors of the year.

Maj. Michael G. Summers was chosen as the Army ROTC Instructor of the Year. The award, sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association and decided upon through the U.S. Army Cadet Command, is called the Col. Leo A. Codd Memorial Award. More than 500 officer instructors from 273 Army ROTC programs were eligible for the annual honor.

Lt. Bill "Bilbo" Burke was chosen as the Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) Officer Instructor of the Year. More than 500 officer instructors from all 136 Naval ROTC colleges and universities nationwide, as well as at the Navy's Recruit Training Command, Officer Training Command and Naval Science Institute, were eligible for this annual award.

Burke was selected as the top officer instructor from among 10 finalists based on his instructional technique, student and departmental evaluations, and success as an adviser. As the winner of the NSTC award, he was included in the competition for the much larger Naval Education and Training Command's award and placed fourth overall.

Combined, the two awards speak volumes about the quality of the Army and Naval ROTC units at ODU, said retired Navy captain Dick Whalen, the university's military activities director.

"Old Dominion University takes immense pride in the size, diversity and outstanding quality of its Army and Naval ROTC units. That a staff instructor from each cadre was selected as a national instructor of the year, across the entire ROTC demographic, is a remarkable achievement. It's certainly consistent with the high professionalism and spirit evidenced daily by our ROTC students and their mentors," Whalen said.

Burke currently serves as the officer in charge for the ODU contingent of the Hampton Roads Naval ROTC Unit. He teaches 30 midshipmen in the Seapower and Maritime Affairs (NAVS 320) course, and supervises the instructors and civilian staff of ODU's NROTC. He has been at the university for two years and will depart this summer to join the staff of Commander, Amphibious Squadron Four. He will also be graduating from ODU in May with a master's degree in international studies.

Burke has served throughout the world, including one humanitarian deployment to Haiti, two anti-piracy deployments to the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and a one-year individual assignment to the Multinational Force Iraq staff in Baghdad.

Summers currently serves as the junior class instructor and deputy commander for the Army ROTC program. He teaches 48 cadets directly in his class and has responsibility for all administrative and logistical functions that are completed.

Summers has been at ODU for two years and will depart this summer to attend the Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., before returning to a regular Army unit. He has served throughout the world, most notably in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg when he deployed for 15 months to Afghanistan.

The selection criteria for his award included assessment of Summers' ability to provide imaginative and interesting approaches to reach the learning objectives, ability to relate material from other disciplines to military science, and his ability to communicate verbally and in writing in an enthusiastic and dynamic manner.

This article was posted on: April 12, 2010

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