By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterDecember 20, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (December 20, 2013) -- The Army has many goals designed to fit into the changing world, from enhancing the quality of life of its Soldiers and their Families to being good stewards of tax dollars, and one of these goals has taken a lead place in urgency -- reducing the Army's environmental footprint.
And Fort Rucker was recognized Dec. 16 as a leading installation when it comes to helping Mother Earth.
U.S. Army Materiel Command recognized the efforts of the Aviation Center Logistics Command to reduce Aviation's input in air emissions by awarding the Spray Technique Analysis and Research for Defense 4D Team the 2013 Headquarters AMC Sustainability Team Award. The award was for its teaming efforts in fiscal year 2012 in addressing painter training impacts to mission, and the start-up of an onsite satellite training facility.
"We have focused on all sorts of aspects -- quality, safety, environmental and we want to sustain our mission. Yes we have reduced air emission, and yes we have reduced waste water treatment, but what we have actually done is given the mission a way to practice to increase and better the skills of painters without any of these negative impacts," said Genie Jones, Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command G4/ACLC environmental chief.
According to Jones, the AMC Sustainability Team award is presented to the ACLC commander whose support enabled the extraordinary teaming efforts of two Star4D Teams made up of ACLC and contractor (Army Fleet Services) representatives.
"The Star4D Teams enhanced mission by: recognizing a need for change, envisioning and researching alternatives for change, developing and selling a business case justification, obtaining start-up funding, training over 30 painters, and sustaining a new-to-Fort Rucker process that enhances and standardizes aircraft paint quality product and painter techniques, while decreasing Fort Rucker's environmental footprint," she said.
STAR4D training methodology consists of state-of-the-art virtual reality technology to simulate the application of coatings in a hazardous-free classroom training environment.
"Implementation of STAR4D, a commercial-off-the-shelf painter training and certification program, has reduced coatings consumption by 30 percent and generation of hazardous waste by 30 percent within the Cairns Painting Operations. And it has eliminated approximately $50,000 per year in operational costs in a budget-constrained environment," said William T. Singer, ACLC deputy commander.
"We are also not over painting the aircraft, which has a fuel impact as well. By eliminating access paint weight we are able to get more flying hours for fewer dollars," he added.
Fort Rucker has been using the system for a little over two years, said Jones. It is upgraded several times a year, which has reduced Fort Rucker's hazardous air pollutions to less than one parts per million.
"You guys do great work down there, it is outstanding," said James Dwyer, principal deputy to the chief of staff of HQ AMC operations. "You help keep our Army trained and provide combat power. What you do does make a difference, it is truly remarkable. Thank you for making our Army stronger."
Col. Michael Aid, ACLC commander, said that teams from all over the installation came together and focused on how to sustain this mission, and how they could do it for less while reducing the negative impacts of the paint.
"This is so important for our mission because it helps sustain the aircraft by making sure the paint is applied in the most efficient and effective manner," he said. "And that helps the overall Army mission by sustaining Fort Rucker's overall mission to keep our Soldiers in the air training and to reduce our footprint while still reducing costs."
The team also won the Air Conservationist of the Year award by the Alabama Wildlife Federation Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards Aug. 2.