Army Community of Excellence
USAG Schinnen Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Fern O. Sumpter (right) and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Mary L. Brown cut celebratory slices of cake for garrison employees after announcing that their past year's efforts earned them bronze level recognition in the Chief of Staff of the Army, Army Communities of Excellence competition in an impromptu ceremony April 15.

SCHINNEN, The Netherlands - USAG Schinnen has moved up in the Army Communities of Excellence world by being recognized with bronze level honors in the 2010 ACOE competition.

The Chief of Staff of the Army, Army Communities of Excellence award winners for fiscal year 2010 were announced April 8, and USAG Schinnen led Army garrisons in Europe again as it was ranked among the top six Army garrisons worldwide.

USAG Schinnen was selected "Most Improved Garrison" in fiscal year 2009 and was awarded its inaugural ACOE flag, trophy and cash prize of $200,000. This year, USAG Schinnen receives a streamer to add to its flag, a trophy and $250,000. The funds will be spent on initiatives to benefit the garrison's entire military community.

Some of the prize money from 2009 is being used to convert the Community Activities Center into an entertainment center, enhancing Armed Forces Entertainment tours that perform for tri-border residents. Visitors to USAG Schinnen will also notice beautification efforts and other upgrades to recreation facilities.

To celebrate this year's bronze level accomplishment, Lt. Col. Fern O. Sumpter, USAG Schinnen garrison commander, held a commander's call April 15 to announce the news to the garrison workforce and to thank each individual for their role in supporting Soldiers, civilians and family members to a standard worthy of ACOE recognition.

"Together, we accomplished what many thought was too difficult or even impossible for a small garrison. Each member of the garrison ensured that the garrison was successfully showcased through the CSA ACOE program. I'm proud how our garrison demonstrated unwavering commitment to our customers and the ability to embrace the very difficult Malcolm Baldrige standards," Sumpter said.

"No member of the team was more important than the other. We worked together. We all had to pull our own weight to make this award possible. Even though we received the bronze level award, this is a significant accomplishment and convinces me that USAG Schinnen is the best garrison in the Army," Sumpter said.

Other garrisons recognized in this year's CSA ACOE include USAG Fort Bragg, Gold Award; USAG Fort Campbell and USAG Fort Hood, Silver Award; and USAG Fort Leavenworth and USAG Yongsan, who also received a Bronze Award. ACOE Exemplary Practice winners included USAG Detroit Arsenal, USAG Fort Carson and USAG Fort Detrick.

"These winners and all the competitors are to be congratulated for the hard work they put into this competition," said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of Installation Management Command. "ACOE keeps the focus on doing the right things, in the right way, and with the right priorities to deliver sustainable installation communities."

Army installations worldwide elect to compete annually in the CSA ACOE program by measuring their performance against Army priorities and the Malcolm Baldrige national quality criteria. USAG Schinnen elected to participate in the demanding ACOE process in 2003.

"ACOE helps installations focus on cost-conscious and performance-based activities, and that contributes directly to a resilient, healthy and mission-ready Army," Lynch said.

"Garrison staff throughout IMCOM, after reading Lt. Gen. Lynch's Campaign Plan, will see how Baldrige standards are being integrated into our day-to-day metrics of performance," said USAG Schinnen Plans, Analysis and Integration Office Director Laura LaMarche. "Once garrisons elected to participate in ACOE, and now we're seeing Baldrige criteria becoming the rule more than the exception."

"It really has been a journey," added Frans Meisen, a Dutch Ministry of Defense employee and deputy director for PAIO. Two-thirds of the garrison's work force is Dutch, and Meisen has been involved in the garrison's ACOE journey since it began.

"We implemented the Baldrige criteria and saw our Installation Status Report ratings improve. So the link between this criteria and how it impacts service to our customers became clear," Meisen said.

"We made our first ACOE submission in 2006, and now, look how far we've come. Now, of course, we have the challenge to sustain this level of performance," Meisen said.

Meisen explained that the ACOE process is comprehensive. The garrison meets annually to validate its mission, vision, organizational values and goals - all of which are synchronized with higher headquarters' strategic plans.

USAG Schinnen's support extends across Northern Germany, Northern Belgium and The Netherlands. The garrison works in concert with U.S. military support elements at the nearby NATO JFC Headquarters Brunssum and NATO Air Base, Geilenkirchen. This year's award signals a two-year trend in providing quality support to Soldiers, civilians and family members in the entire tri-border community.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16