Environmental requirements are growing and with a reduction in civilian manpower, more and more of the workload is being provided by Soldiers.
In 2016, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) recognized this increase of effort and created a new category of award to highlight the achievements of Soldiers who stepped up to fill the requirements.
IMCOM Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Sean Jenkins honored 1st Sgt. Michael Kidd, 663rd Ordnance Company, 242nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), for being the recipient IMCOM's first environmental officer award by presenting him with an Army Commendation Medal during a ceremony Monday at the 71st EOD headquarters.
While serving as NCO in charge of the 242nd OD BN operations section, earned the award for directly contributing to a cost avoidance of an estimated $250,000 in fines and labor costs for the Department of the Army.
A representative with IMCOM Headquarters said Kidd's actions demonstrated how multifaceted the EOD community is.
"His actions proved how EOD skill sets can be used as force-multipliers, even when outside a combat environment and provided an example of leadership in an area that has not been tread upon by Soldiers before," said the IMCOM representative.
In addition to his duties providing operational oversight to the battalion's five companies, Kidd was tasked with synchronizing emergency response missions with installation and local authorities from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada.
He assisted the Fort Carson Environmental Compliance, Directorate of Public Works, in revising and updating the emergency treatment of hazardous waste (explosives) permit for Range 121, ensured all proper training was conducted and coordinated the inspections and observations of explosive waste treatment processes.
Kidd said one of the most significant tasks he worked on was rewriting the permit to better suit all parties involved while ensuring the safety of the surrounding populace when treating explosive waste recovered on or off the installation.
He said John Wachter, chief, Fort Carson Environmental Compliance, was the key piece in securing compliance with the State of Colorado.
"He was instrumental in overseeing the program and assisting the Fort Carson EOD community with environmental training and education," he said.
Wachter said he nominated Kidd for the award because of his attention to detail and proactive nature.
Kidd's leadership in refining and maintaining a well-organized training protocol and associated recordkeeping for EOD personnel coupled with weekly range inspections resulted in external state regulatory environmental inspections with zero findings. A result that had not been achieved in more than three years, according to Wachter.
"He has gone above and beyond to ensure Fort Carson's compliance," Wachter said.
Kidd said the experience made him more aware of behind the scene operations and a more effective leader.
"Understanding and being involved in this process was humbling and eye-opening," Kidd said.
As ironic as it is for an explosive ordnance disposal technician to receive an environmental stewardship award, Kidd's efforts to implement positive change within the Fort Carson area has set a standard for other Soldiers to follow.