DOD announces top environmental award recipients

  • Published
  • By Amaani Lyle
  • American Forces Press Service
At a Pentagon ceremony today, Defense and Interior Department officials presented this year's Secretary of Defense Environmental Award to 10 teams and installations for excellence in advancing environmental initiatives.

Among the installations recognized, the Air Force was represented by both the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and the 75th Civil Engineer Group at Hill AFB, Utah.

Dr. Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment; Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics; and David J. Hayes, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior presented the awards in six categories.

The award program, in its 50th year, recognizes recent strides in "green" initiatives that spring from the DOD's $42 billion investment in environmental initiatives over the last decade.

"Your accomplishments are now part of a five-decade legacy of environmental excellence within the Department of Defense," Robyn said to awardees.

Vandenberg AFB's 30th Space Wing, located on California's Central Coast, was recognized for its cultural resources management, and Hill AFB's 75th Civil Engineer Group for its environmental restoration.

During the award period, Vandenberg AFB's cultural resources management team successfully programmed, planned and budgeted to support the diverse range of cultural projects at the base and foster cultural resources awareness across the base and in the local community.

"We were delighted and honored to represent the Air Force, Air Force Space Command and the 30th Space Wing within the Secretary of Defense Environmental Excellence Awards program," said Christopher Ryan, the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron team lead at Vandenberg AFB. "It's great to be recognized for our accomplishments over the last three years, but we share that recognition with many other people, like the 30th CES horizontal shop, the 30th CES Hot Shots, our contractors, the Chumash Tribe, base command and others."

At Hill AFB, the 75th CEG restoration team led the way in identifying, developing and implementing innovative techniques and technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of remediation efforts while leaving behind the smallest possible environmental footprint. The team also embraced several projects that led to cost- and time-saving measures such as cutting energy consumption by 35 percent, reducing its carbon footprint by 30 percent and saving the Air Force more than $250,000 in energy costs annually.

"Hill has some tough cleanup challenges," said Bob Elliott, the 75th CEG Environmental Management Division chief. "That said, our restoration branch has a unique group of extraordinarily capable engineers who not only address technical issues very well, but they recognize the value of input and involvement from our stakeholder community and regulatory agencies. It's truly a team effort for them."

This year's award recipients include:

-- Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, Pennsylvania, Sustainability, Industrial Installation

-- Fort Hood, Texas, Environmental Quality, Non-Industrial Installation

-- U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Oahu Army Natural Resource Team, Natural Resources Conservation, Individual/Team

-- Fort Hood Recycle Team, Texas, Environmental Quality, Individual Team

-- Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Warren, Mich., Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition, Team

-- Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Natural Resources Conservation, Small Installation

-- Naval Supply Fleet Logistics Center, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Environmental Quality, Individual/Team

-- Former Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Calif., Environmental Restoration, Individual/Team

-- 75th Civil Engineer Group, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Environmental Restoration, Installation

-- 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Cultural Resources Management, Installation

The Defense Department manages nearly 30 million acres of installations -- homes to old growth forests, tall grass prairies, thermal pool wetlands, archeological sites and numerous ecosystems, Robyn said. The lands also harbor significant natural resources to include 420 endangered species and 523 at-risk species, 75 of them located solely on DOD lands, she added.

"Behind these statistics are the people, many of them unsung heroes, who work every day to preserve our natural heritage in support of the defense mission," she said. "We protect the environment on our installations not only to preserve irreplaceable resources for the future, but to ensure that we have the land, water and airspace we need for military readiness."