By Marguerite Cleveland
Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper recently announced the winners of the 20202 Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence. The program recognizes the people who work to utilize limited resources to operate and maintain U.S. military installations. There are five awards, one for each branch of service and one for the Defense Logistic Agency.
The program was established in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan who said at the time, ““I am confident that this search for excellence and innovations will yield many new and better ways of accomplishing our mission and at the same time honor those whose dedication has produced the best Defense organization in the world.” Each branch holds its own intra-service competition. Installations are evaluated on mission support, energy conservation, quality of life, unit morale, environmental stewardship, real property management, safety, health and security, communications, and public relations.
The Recipients of the 2020 Commander In Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence are:
U.S. Army Garrison Fort Drum, New York (USAG-FD)
Senior Commander: Major General Brian J. Mennes, U.S. Army
Garrison Commander: Colonel Jeffery P. Lucas, U.S. Army
Highlights for USAG-FD include great success with energy conservation with 100% renewable-energy sustainability. They saved $1.9 million by repurposing a furniture store and food court into a After-Action Review Facilty using Public Works personnel. Other highlights include the installation of solar walls in 53 buildings which will save a projected $32,000.
Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia
Commanding Officer: Captain Bradley N. Rosen, U.S. Navy
Highlights for Naval Station Norfolk include reducing energy use by 15.1% since the baseline year, Fiscal Year 2015. A new heat and power plant began operations supplying 74% of the stations steam requirements saving $6.5 million in utility costs. They reduced spills which effect the environment 66% since the baseline year. The base’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation was recognized as a 5-star accredited program.
Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, California (MCGACC)
Base Commander: Brigadier General Roger Turner, U.S. Marine Corps
MCGACC highlights included $23 million investments in infrastructure to repair major facilities. The photovoltaic system and tri-generation plants provided 83% of the bases daily energy requirements saving over $9.8 million. An environmental program saw the MCGACC partnered with a California University to rear 475 desert tortoise hatchlings, release 234 into the wild and relocate 1300 to safer locations.
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska (JBER)
Commanding Officer: Colonel Patricia A. Csànk, U.S. Air Force
JBER had a tough year surviving a 7.1 magniture earthquake and the worst fire season in Alaska’s history. Highlights include hosting the USAF’s first base-level innovation summit. They also established an innovation lab which resulted in securing over $260K to fund 22 projects. The lab provides a place for airmen to congregate and access cutting edge technology such as using 3D printing to create prototypes. When Hurricane Michael struck Tyndall AFB, 112 Airmen and families relocated to JBER where they received support from the Military and Family Readiness Center, in coordination with seven other base agencies.
Defense Distribution Depot, San Joaquin, California
Commanding Officer: Colonel Tiffany. N. Harris, U.S. Marine Corps
The Defense Distribution Depot San Joaquin highlights include reducing per-fixture energy consumption by 54% by changing over 6,100 fluorescent light fixtures to LED. More than 600 employees took part in the Employer Trip Reduction Program which reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 242 metric tons. The Depot saw a 60% drop in lost-time injuries, and a 23% reduction in total injuries reported due to their vigilant safety program.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.PeggyWhereShouldIGo.com