2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
1 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized the Illinois National Guard as having "most improved" Army installations, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, 2016, in the Pentagon. Maj. Gen. ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
2 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Drum, New York, as being a "most improved" Army installation, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, 2016, in the Pentagon... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
3 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized the Louisiana National Guard, as the Army National Guard 3rd place winner for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, 2016,... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
4 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized Camp Rapid, South Dakota National Guard, as the Army National Guard 1st place winner for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, Ma... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
5 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized the North Carolina National Guard, as the Army National Guard 2rd place winner for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
6 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized the Wisconsin National Guard as the Army National Guard overall winner for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, 2016, in... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
7 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized U.S. Army Garrison, Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, as a bronze winner for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, 2016, in the P... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
8 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized 81st Regional Support Command, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, as the Army Reserve overall winner for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards c... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
9 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, as a bronze winner for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, 2016, in the Pe... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
10 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as a gold winner for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, 2016, in the Pent... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
11 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
12 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Rucker, Alabama, as a silver winner for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, 2016, in the Penta... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
13 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized U.S. Army Garrison, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, as being a "most improved" Army installation, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, May 24, 2016... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards
14 / 14 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, left, recognized 1st Mission Support Command, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, as the Army Reserve runner up for installation excellence, during the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards ceremony, ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- A good foundation for Soldier and Army readiness, said the Army's chief of staff, is home base -- where Soldiers live, where their kids go to school, and where their spouses shop for groceries.

Thirteen Army installations were cited, May 24, for providing to Soldiers just that type of home base: one where they can leave home to conduct the nation's business, without being distracted by concerns for the well-being of the families they left behind.

During the 2016 Army Communities of Excellence Awards at the Pentagon, Gen. Mark A. Milley explained how installation excellence directly supports Soldier and Army readiness.

About 2.7 million Soldiers, he said, have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 15 years. And for each one of those Soldiers, he said, "their first concern, actually, was not the Taliban or al Qaeda ... their first concern was always, in every case, their family."

The general said that today, some 60 percent of the force is married, and has, on average, between one and two children. Those Solders, he said, could not have performed their duties abroad if they were distracted with concerns for the well-being of their families back home.

"A Soldier who is deployed and who thinks his family doesn't have adequate housing, has mold in the showers, the roof is leaking, the heat or air conditioning doesn't work, who doesn't have adequate medical care for his family or children ... or a community that doesn't feel safe, or doesn't have adequate police protection ... is not going to focus on their job in training, and certainly not going to focus on their job in wartime."

It's the role of installation commanders, Milley said, to ensure that there are adequate medical facilities, schools in place that are well-equipped, well-stocked commissaries and post exchanges, family support programs, recreational centers, youth centers, child care facilities and fitness centers, for instance.

"The list goes on and on," he said. "These are huge responsibilities for these communities. It's incumbent upon all of us as part of the institution ... to really take care of that Soldier and importantly, their family. By doing so, we are contributing to the readiness of the force."

Readiness, Milley said, is today the Army's No. 1 priority.

"Those 2.7 million could not have performed their task in combat without knowing there was a rear detachment, without knowing there was a garrison commander, or hospital commander, or a school district their child was going to," he said.

Well-run installations, Milley said, provide for families. And that, he said, provides Soldiers with the confidence to do their combat mission. "It's really a direct and causal contributor to the readiness of our force."

For 2016, the Army recognized the following installations for providing Soldier families with the support needed so that Soldiers could confidently deploy in support of the nation:

--- Regular Army

-- Gold: U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

-- Silver: U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Rucker, Alabama

-- Bronze: U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Wainwright, Alaska

-- Bronze: U.S. Army Garrison, Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia

--- Army National Guard

-- Overall Winner: Wisconsin National Guard

-- 1st Place: Camp Rapid, South Dakota, South Dakota National Guard

-- 2nd Place: North Carolina National Guard

-- 3rd Place: Louisiana National Guard

--- Army Reserve

-- Overall Winner: 81st Regional Support Command, Fort Jackson, South Carolina

-- Runner-up: 1st Mission Support Command, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico

--- Most Improved

-- U.S. Army Garrison, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

-- U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Drum, New York

-- U.S. National Guard, Illinois

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