Including this year's Bronze award, it is the eighth time the installation has ranked in the annual ACOE competition.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chief of staff of the Army, presented the award to Col. David A. Meyer, garrison commander, and several representatives from the installation and the community.

"Our garrison commanders and awardees today are not only recognized for the excellence that they bring for the garrisons they represent, but they are also being recognized for what they do outside the fort," the general said.

Milley added that it's a necessity driven by the Army's demographics.

Sixty percent of today's Soldiers are married, have children and reside off the installation, he said. It's vitally important for garrison commanders and their staffs to be actively engaged with the surrounding communities.

"It's not just for excellence and quality of life, it's really a direct and causal contributor to the readiness of our force," he said.

"If our families are taken care of, if they have the medical care, the education, the housing… and so forth. If they have all that, then the probability is that our Soldiers are going to focus in on the job at hand," Milley said. "That is so fundamental to readiness."

Thus, the ACOE program was established in 1987 to help installations improve their processes to meet these and any future challenges.

Dianne Smith, acting chief for Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, said the ACOE program uses the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program Criteria for Performance Excellence to evaluate competing installations.

It evaluates and recognizes installations for their continuous business process improvement, and dedication to efficiency, effectiveness and customer service in providing support to Soldiers and all those who train, work, live and participate in on post recreational activities, she said.

Part of that process includes evaluating the installation's leadership, strategic planning, customer service, process management and a host of other categories, but most importantly, results achieved.

"In every case, they got results," Milley said. "So they are setting the standard for the quality of life we expect for all of our Soldiers and families. They're setting a standard for the Army as a whole.

"It's all about continuous process improvement," Smith added. "We continuously evaluate the effectiveness of our processes, everything from leadership, strategy, workforce and operations with a focus on providing excellence in facilities and services in support of Soldiers and the Army community.

"This is the way we run our installation," she said. "The competition is secondary!"

Meyer attributes the post's success to the 325 employees who carry out their mission at Fort A.P. Hill in support of the military.

"It really is a testament to the workforce -- their hard work and perseverance," he said.