The Army won three categories in this year's Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards Program competition. Aberdeen Proving Ground took the Environmental Restoration installation award; Dorenda Coleman, Arizona Army National Guard's sustainability manager, won the team/individual award for Sustainability; and Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center's Counterfeit Refrigerant Impact Team captured the Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition award in the small program category.

The Marines also won three categories, the Air Force won two, and the Navy won one in this competition within the Department of Defense recognizing efforts to protect the environment and human health, and preserve the resources at our installations that support training and operations.

Aberdeen Proving Ground's sustainable approach to cleaning up new O-Field is an example of using a green remediation approach to protect the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and the surrounding environment at APG. Strong partnerships with regulators and the public, innovative strategies, and dynamic program management are credited for much of APG's success. The program focuses on supporting the APG mission while executing a cost-effective environmental cleanup program. The cleanup also allows the safe return of property for military use while protecting human health, public safety and the environment.

Over the last two years, Dorenda Coleman has been the mastermind behind a number of sustainability initiatives within the Arizona Army National Guard. She was recognized by the National Guard Bureau for her efforts in sustainability with a third place award in the 2012 Environmental Security Awards. She went on to win the Secretary of the Army Environmental Sustainability Award representing the National Guard. She has now been recognized as one of the best within the Department of Defense for sustainability.

When the Army realized that contaminated refrigerant could cause cooling system fires when technicians serviced systems containing R-40, and not the safer R-134a, the Army's TARDEC formed an integrated process team to develop a plan to fix the problem. TARDEC's plan called for determining if Army vehicles or containers contained counterfeit refrigerants, assessing the impact and contamination risk if R-40 was present, acertaining the risks involved in servicing equipment with R-40, identifying how to mitigate those risks, developing a field testing unit to allow Soldiers to test refrigerant prior to use, and introducing disposal procedures for contaminated refrigerants. To date, there have been no reports of injury to personnel or major loss of equipment in the Army due to contaminated refrigerants, though approximately 25 percent of the vehicles tested have contained some level of refrigerant contamination. TARDEC was recognized for this effort with the Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition award for a small program.

Other awardees in the 2013 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards Program include 673rd Air Base Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska - Sustainability, Non-industrial Installation; 78th Civil Engineer Group, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. - Environmental Quality, Industrial Installation; Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Japan - Environmental Quality, Overseas Installation; Naval Base Coronado, Calif. - Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation; Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. - Cultural Resources Management, Installation; and June Noelani Cleghorn, Marine Corps Base Hawaii - Cultural Resources Management, Individual/Team. These award-winning nominations highlight just a few of the best environmental practices found throughout the Department of Defense.

The DoD established the annual Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards in 1962 to honor individuals, teams and installations for their outstanding achievements and innovative environmental practices and partnerships that promote the quality of life and increase efficiencies without compromising mission success.

In doing so, the department celebrates military service members and civilians for their commitments to protect human health and the environment while addressing complex national security challenges. The awards also highlight the military's efforts to preserve and restore America's natural resources and cultural heritage for future generations.

Each year, the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations and Environment submits a call for nominations and each military service and defense agency may submit one nomination for each of the nine categories that cover six subject areas: sustainability; environmental quality; environmental excellence in weapon system acquisition; natural resources conservation; environmental restoration; and cultural resources management.

The awards ceremony for this year's winners is planned for July 10 at 1 p.m. in the Pentagon auditorium.

Page last updated Fri April 19th, 2013 at 00:00