Fort Rucker earns sustainable range award
August 13, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker is being recognized for its efforts to be an environmentally responsible post as the recipient of the 2010 Sustained Range Program Tier 2 installation award.
The award is scheduled to be presented at the 2010 Training Support Systems Workshop, Aug. 16-20 in Chicago, according to Sean Sparks, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Training Division chief.
Sparks, the team lead organizer, is responsible for helping the installation improve its helicopter landing and firing training ranges by adding more environmentally friendly elements to them.
"We didn't start this project to win an award, but it is nice to be recognized for the work we put into the project," said Sparks. "Our main concern was figuring out how we maintain the resources we have and make them last. We're in tough times right now and it's important to make sure the things we have are there for a long time."
The team also included Al Townsend, Directorate of Public Works environmental officer. He described the DPW side of the project as an "enabler."
"In the past, the environmental side was a show-stopper. We usually tell people what they can and can't do," Townsend said. "The ideas presented here were great and exactly what we wanted to see on our training ranges."
Several changes were made to training ranges as part of the project including adding concrete slopes to ranges to help prevent erosion from helicopter landings and rain, placing plastic tank models to replace full-sized metal versions and using smoke machines instead of smoke bombs during training exercises.
"Using smoke machines instead of smoke bombs to simulate a downed vehicle is a great way to save money and prevent possible fires," Sparks said. "It's all part of using what we have and preserving our resources."
The other team members included in the SRP project were Paul Meissner, DPTMS air traffic control specialist, CW3 Dennis Jackson 110th Aviation Brigade training, advising and counseling operations officer, Larry Powell, DPTMS Range Branch quality assurance evaluator, Robert Murphy DPTMS Integrated Training Area Management coordinator and CW4 Keith Barker, formerly the 110th Bde. safety officer. Barker recently permanently changed station to Fort Drum, N.Y.
"Receiving the 2010 SRP tier two Installation Award serves as an example of the collaborative efforts between multiple organizations, Department of the Army civilians, contractors and our active duty mission partners here," Sparks said. "This business practice is routinely performed to ensure the training resources remain at a high level of readiness."