2007 Larry L. Strickland Educational Leadership Award 


SGM Eric Willis
SGM John Heinrichs
1SG Ava Bounds


Sergeant Major Eric Willis, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, is a 2007 recipient of the SGM Larry L. Strickland Educational Leadership Award for developing and assisting Soldiers with improving their educational goals and mastering some basic education skills while deployed at Camp Victory, Iraq. He worked directly with the Army Education Center to set up a unique FAST class which enabled his Soldiers to continue their education during war. As a result, the Soldiers improved their ASVAB scores, thereby giving them better reenlistment options and the motivation to continue their education quest.

While deployed, Sergeant Major Willis served as a tutor and test proctor for numerous Soldiers seeking advanced degrees. His motto is, “An educated Soldier will make rational and well thought out decisions…” He firmly believes in assisting Soldiers to continue their education goals, while ensuring that they understand that anything worth having requires sacrifice.



SGM John Heinrichs, Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief of Staff of the Army, is a 2007 recipient of the Larry L. Strickland Educational Leadership Award for dramatically enhancing the Army’s noncommissioned officer educational system in the Army. His tireless dedication and leadership skills serving as the Deputy Team Leader for the Review of Education, Training and Assignments for Leaders Task Force, NCO Team, resulted in the conception and subsequent approval of strategic initiatives that will significantly improve the training and education of the noncommissioned officer corps. His knowledge and experience were instrumental in the creation of a detailed description of the characteristics required by the future noncommissioned officer, a Pentathlete. These initiatives will have a profound positive impact on the Army by raising the bar of professional knowledge for the NCO Corps, resulting in technically and tactically proficient Soldiers and leaders who are prepared to meet the complexities and challenges of the 21st century security environment.



1SG Ava J. Bounds, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center is a 2007 recipient of the SGM Larry L. Strickland Educational Leadership Award for creating and developing a progressive educational model that provides Soldiers the opportunity to attain an Associate’s Degree. She partnered with the Fort Hood Education Center and developed opportunities linked with current retention educational incentive programs that allow Soldiers to select and attain a degree before their incentive year expires.

1SG Bounds time saving approach to retention readiness and her innovative approach to career development have resulted in an increase in education enrollment, professional development, and an investment in life long learning. She conducts professional development seminars that provide guidelines and insight on developing goals that will assist in attaining and ultimately graduating with an Associate’s Degree. Her initiative will have a profound and positive impact on the Army Medical Department and the Soldiers who take advantage of this program.