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News | June 28, 2024

Meet Your TRADOC Instructor of the Year – Master Sgt. Shay Howlett

By Lauren Reho Recruiting and Retention College

Master Sgt. Shay Howlett, originally from Mount Airy, North Carolina, was named the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Instructor of the Year. 

Prior to working at the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Howlett served as a 19K Army M1 Armor Crewman. 

When asked about why he chose this career path, Howlett said, “Where else can you drive something that weighs 72 tons and can hit a target three miles away? Also, their boots!” 

Currently, he is a 79R Army Recruiter and Faculty and Staff Development noncommissioned officer in charge at the Recruiting and Retention College. 

He teaches the Instructor's Course, Developer's Course and Middle Manager's Course. He says he really enjoys teaching each instructor that comes through the RRC because it is such a cool experience to see them implementing techniques and styles they learned in the classroom. 

He says his students especially taught him to be flexible and adaptable.  

“Adult learners require a bit of finesse and each of them learn differently,” Howlett said. “You have to be able to meet them where and how they learn. It is a fun challenge.” 

“I do my absolute best to share tactics, techniques and procedures as well as my battle rhythm to each of my students,” Howlett said. “Those were two major factors in the successes I had. I also encourage each of them to make some time for themselves and their families.” 

Leading up to the TRADOC competition, the RRC holds its own similar competition. Howlett says the competition is very competitive, but as soon as it concluded, it made way for collaboration.  

“Every single department and division here at the RRC assisted me in preparation or execution,” Howlett said. “That was the difference maker, no doubt in my mind. That is why we are the best!” 

Over the years, the RRC has had multiple winners for this TRADOC competition. Howlett says each of the winners inspired him and that the best piece of advice he has received is to be the best version of himself every day. He says he takes this advice with him wherever he goes in the Army. 

“I continue to serve in the Army because of the Soldiers I am surrounded with,” Howlett said. “Each relationship I have has developed me in some way, through either positional power or more often personal power. The Army has afforded my family a quality of life and opportunities we may not have had otherwise.” 

Howlett says it was his Recruiter who motivated him to join the Army. 

“Hands down, he showed me a path to success and walked me through the process,” Howlett said. “Without Staff. Sgt. Johnson and his tanker boots, I don’t know where I would be.” 

Howlett says his career highlights include earning the Master Recruit Badge, co-authoring the revision of USAREC Training Circular 5-03.2 and being promoted to master sergeant in April. He says he is very pleased all his hard work has paid off in each of his accomplishments. 

“Being stationed here at Fort Knox has given me opportunities to travel and instruct a large population of USAREC,” Howlett said. “I mentored young men at Steve Harvey’s Manhood 101, outside of Atlanta, Georgia. It also allowed my wife, Sarah, and I to attend the 150th Kentucky Derby. These are unique chances you do not see often in the private sector.” 

Howlett says he attributes his success to his wife, Sarah. He says he is most looking forward to watching his son Corban grow up. Outside of work, Howlett says he enjoys traveling with his family, playing golf and landscaping. 

“Being in USAREC allows me to always be home for dinner,” Howlett said. “Family means everything.” 

For more information about career opportunities and benefits in the U.S. Army, visit



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