A West Virginia University staff member will be recognized as one of the most outstanding Reserve OfficersTraining Corps (ROTC) instructors in the nation.

Capt. Justin Golart, U.S. Air Force and commandant of cadets for the WVU Air Force ROTC , has been awarded the Colonel Leo A. Codd Memorial Award by the National Industrial Defense Association (NDIA).

The annual award is presented to nine ROTC instructors selected from over 1,500 instructors serving at 400 Air Force, Army and Navy ROTC training detachments nationwide. The honor signifies excellence in leadership, mentorship and teaching efforts.

This recognition speaks to the program and Capt. Golarts contributions as an instructor, WVU President Mike Garrison said.Were proud of his accomplishment and the skills and values he instills in our cadet-students.

Garrison will present Golart with the award during a special ceremony April 22.

This award further recognizes Justins capabilities as a leader and top instructor,said Col. Edwin T. Parks, commander of WVU Air Force ROTC .He has also received an award from our region headquarters, was entrusted to administer instruction for the nations best cadets during an intense 29-day summer field training encampment and has helped increase our freshman retention numbers to a recent high. He is an important part of our program, and were proud of his accomplishments.

For Golart, the award represents the results of teamwork within the program.

This experience is very humbling. It means a lot to me that Col. Parks submitted my name for consideration,he said.I think this recognition speaks more to the level of professionalism and service by the entire WVU Air Force ROTC staff and is a reflection of the detachment rather than just one individual.

The Air Force ROTC program combines classroom learning with the development of military skills. Classes in leadership and subordinate skills, air and space history and international studies are combined with a leadership laboratory, where students complete field training and marching and learn the core values of integrity, service and excellence.

As an instructor in the Air Force ROTC program, Golart is part of a team that ensures the cadets achieve their academic pursuits and learn the fundamental skills needed to become a commissioned officer in the Air Force. He teaches a class on the history of air and space power, and as the commandant of cadets, he is responsible for supervising the military training of over 60 members of the cadet corps. Golart is also working on a Master of Public Administration degree.

He approaches his position in the cadre seriously, and as a former ROTC cadet himself, he knows the influence that he and the leadership team have on the students in the program.

We are increasing the knowledge and skills of our cadets and preparing them to become commissioned Air Force officers,he said.That includes ensuring they have a strong educational background and complete understanding of Air Force protocols and procedures. There is a high level of expectation for them to assume leadership roles from their first day on active duty. Our teaching, training and mentorship prepare them for those responsibilities.

Golarts career in the Air Force includes several other distinctions. In January, he was named the 2007 Air Force ROTC Northeast Regions Company Grade Officer of the Year. He was also chosen to administer 450 hours of training for top Air Force cadets as a flight training officer during 2007 summer field training in South Dakota. He will return this summer as a commandant of cadets.

The awards namesake is the late Army Col. Leo A. Codd, who was instrumental in the formation of the American Ordanance Association in 1963. The association merged with the National Security Industrial Association to form the NDIA . Codd, an ROTC graduate himself, was a lifelong supporter of the program and felt it served a key role in military preparedness.