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Misawa among 2006 Air Force environmental award winners

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Monique Randolph
  • Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs
Seven active bases, one Guard wing and one individual were chosen for the Gen. Thomas D. White Environmental Awards for 2006 June 7 at the Pentagon.

The Air Force also won four of eight Department of Defense environmental awards. 

"The Air Force has a long track record of taking care of the environment both in terms of compliance and cleanup," said Maj. Gen. Del Eulberg, the Air Force civil engineer. 

The Overseas Category went to Misawa Air Base, Japan. Misawa AB officials launched several energy reduction initiatives, saving more than $539,000 annually. Their efforts earned them the U.S. Forces Japan Environmental Excellence Award two years in a row.

The 101st Air Reserve Wing at, Bangor, Maine, won the Environmental Quality Awards in the Reserve/Air National Guard Component Category for their commitment to protecting, preserving and restring the environment while providing support to the Air National Guard mission.

The 101st ARW led the Reserve component with innovative programs such as the phased installation of a de-icer control system, which reduced runoff by more than 60,000 gallons while maintaining the support of the wing's mission.

Luke AFB, Ariz., won the Pollution Prevention Award Non-Industrial Category for its commitment to avoiding pollution. Luke AFB officials benchmarked a $7.4 million range residue removal program that recycled 3,400 tons of metal and spent munitions. The program eliminated 92 percent of their largest hazardous waste stream.

Eglin AFB, Fla., earned the Cultural Resources Management Award. In the wake of Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis, Eglin AFB officials reviewed more than 1,000 records to ensure clean up and repair efforts did not adversely affect historic buildings and archeological sites.

The 72nd Air Base Wing at Tinker AFB, Okla., received the Pollution Prevention Award for Team Excellence. The pollution prevention team shrank the installation's waste stream by thousands of tons annually, and reduced the amount of toxic releases by 1.4 million pounds, DOD's largest reduction. The team capitalized on cutting-edge "green" technology that improves process quality such as a non-chromated surface treatment that reduces chrome usage by 28,000 gallons and saves $120,000 a year. They also completed a successful engine demonstration of Fischer-Tropsch fuel, a domestic, non-petroleum resource replacement for conventional jet fuel that was later used to power the first B-52 Stratofortress flight with synthetic fuel.

The National Environmental Policy Act Award Team Excellence went to the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. The team integrated National Environmental Policy Act requirements early in the planning process to reduce unforeseen costs and delays. They saved more than $100,000 by accomplishing two of their four large-scale environmental assessments with in-house personnel and more than $50,000 by preparing environmental analyses and associated endangered species biological assessments.

In addition to the Gen. Thomas D. White Environmental Awards, Arnold AFB, Tenn.; Tinker AFB; Dover AFB, Del.; and Gary M. O'Donnell of Hickam AFB, Hawaii, took half of the eight awards given annually for outstanding work in DOD environmental programs. They were honored at the corresponding Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards Ceremony June 7.

Arnold AFB won the Natural Resources Conservation for a Large Installation award. This award recognizes efforts to promote the conservation of natural resources, the sound management and use of land and its resources and the promotion of conservation.

Special recovery efforts at Arnold AFB led to a rare species found on the site being removed from the threatened list. The base also saved $50,000 by obtaining jurisdiction over its wetlands and conducted conservation education with off-base wildlife organizations.

Dover AFB officials received the Environmental Restoration-Installation award, which recognizes efforts to protect human health and the environment by cleaning up identified DOD sites in a timely, cost-efficient and responsive manner.

Dover AFB officials met the Air Force's goal of completing or installing environmental restoration remedies six years ahead of schedule. Dover AFB members restored natural resources for use in supporting the base's warfighting mission, constructed remediation systems underneath the taxiway without impact to the mission, and set an Air Force record for obtaining regulator signatures on six Records of Decisions for 39 sites in six months.

Mr. O'Donnell won the Cultural Resources Management Individual Excellence Award for his efforts to protect historical and cultural resources. He invited local community members to participate in landscape maintenance of a Native Hawaiian burial vault, implemented the "Preserve America's Interpretive Plan" for heritage tourism, and educated base planners and engineers on adaptive use of historic structures.

Tinker AFB was selected for the Environmental Quality-Industrial Installation Award. This award is given for efforts to ensure mission accomplishment and protection of human health through the implementation of environmental management systems and pollution prevention.

Tinker AFB officials converted B-1BLancer, B-52 and C-130 Hercules aircraft surface treatment to a more environmentally sound process, saving $120,000 annually. Additionally, Tinker AFB members' use of alternative fuels in 75 percent of base vehicles will reduce air emissions by 20 tons per year.

"This is the cream of the crop," said William C. Anderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics. "An amazing group of projects, ingenuity and free thinking brought these folks to this point."

"Around the Air Force, folks are doing great things," he said. "We will meet our environmental remedy two years ahead of the DOD commitment, by 2012. We're the largest green power purchaser in America, we're helping to wean the country off its addiction to oil, we're installing the largest solar array at Nellis AFB and more," he said.

"Today it's not just environment -- we have an expanded definition -- it's now energy and environment, woven together very tightly, never to be separated again."