ARLINGTON, Va., (April 28, 2009) Aca,!" Fort Stewart, Ga., and Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., will be honored as the winners of the Army Chief of Staff's Army Communities of Excellence Award (ACOE) 2009, May 5. They will receive a $1 million grand prize.

Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Meade, Md., placed second, and Fort Knox, Ky., U.S. Army Garrison Daegu, Republic of Korea, and U.S. Army Garrison Camp Humphreys, Republic of Korea, placed third, respectively. The second place winners will receive $500,000 each, and third will receive $250,000 each.

U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen, Netherlands, Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort McCoy, Wis., are the winners for Most Improved, the ACOEAca,!a,,cs newest category. The Most Improved winners will receive a $200,000 cash prize each.

The Special Category ACOE winner for the Army National Guard is the Ohio Army National Guard. The 96th Regional Readiness Command, Fort Douglas, Utah, is the Special Category winner for the Army Reserve. The Special Category winners will receive a $750,000 cash prize each.

The ACOE Awards are presented annually to recognize performance excellence in installation management by Army garrisons. The award program recognizes continuous business process improvement, groundbreaking initiatives and devotion to efficiency, effectiveness and customer care in providing support to Soldiers, families, retirees and civilian employees who work, live, train and play on Army installations.

The ACOE program uses the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence to evaluate competing installations. The criteria are the basis for performance excellence recognition programs in 44 states and 60 nations, as well in federal agencies including the U.S. Army, Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Coast Guard. Participants are judged against this common standard and not against each other.

Winning active Army installations are selected by an independent panel of judges based on the evaluation of the installationsAca,!a,,c written applications and additional information gathered during site visits by examiner teams. The winning installations receive professional recognition and monetary rewards based on their ranking. The Army Reserve and Army National Guard are grouped together for the selection process.

Each winner receives a trophy and commemorative flag, and monetary awards will be given in fiscal year 2010.

Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield will also be recognized at the 2009 Commander in Chief's Award ceremony, which will be announced at a later date.