FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker proved once again that it's Above the Best as it received nationwide recognition for receiving top honors with the 2018 Commander in Chief's Award for Installation Excellence and the Chief of Staff of the Army Communities of Excellence Gold Award during a ceremony June 14.

Maj. Gen. William K. Gayler, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, Col. Brian E. Walsh, Fort Rucker garrison commander, Command Sgt. Maj. Brian N. Hauke, command sergeant major of the Aviation Branch and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher D. Spivey, then-Fort Rucker garrison command sergeant major, were among those on hand to receive the awards during the ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum.

In addition to the awards presentation, 12 teams from 22 different organizations across the installation were recognized for their efforts in contributing to the installation receiving the awards.

"To the garrison command team, you've taken the (Commander in Chief's Award for Installation Excellence) and the Chief of Staff of the Army's Communities of Excellence Gold Award -- that is significant," said Gayler during the ceremony. "What it really does is it recognizes what you do for this great community that we call Fort Rucker.

"We align such great services and facilities, and a quality environment that gives Soldiers and families and civilians and our retirees a phenomenal place to live, and it is very special," said the commanding general. "It's not just the Fort Rucker community, but it's all across the Wiregrass -- you truly make this a great place to live, work and play, and it's very special for us. I know how much hard work goes into this award, and to be recognized for this award, my hat goes off to each and every one of you."

The Commander in Chief's Award for Installation Excellence is awarded to installations that demonstrate exemplary support for the Department of Defense mission and shows continuous improvement in innovation in processes that are fundamental to successful operations, said Mike Kozlowski, narrator for the event. In addition, the ACOE Gold Award recognizes the highest level of excellence in installation management.

"It's an absolute honor to be here in the museum today at Fort Rucker, the home of Army Aviation, to celebrate the (garrison's) selection as the winner of the Commander in Chief's Award and the Chief of Staff of the Army Gold Award for installation excellence," said Walsh. "I'm proud to say that these awards recognize the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Rucker for excelling and providing the core competencies in training support, base operations, wellbeing of Soldiers, civilians and their families.

"I applaud the garrison work force and professionals for their capacity, and applying the art and science of installation management, and at the end of the day, delivering high-quality base operation services, along with customer service excellence and quality of life," said the garrison commander. "Every organization, activity and community supporting Fort Rucker are part of the Fort Rucker team and share these awards. Thanks for your commitment and partnerships -- the strong community relations that sustain the Wiregrass community of excellence. As the team of teams, please continue in your unwavering quest for excellence in the services you provide for the Soldiers, families, civilians and, ultimately, the great nation we serve."

The award also came with a $100,000 cash award that Walsh said will be used to further improve the community by making several areas around the installation more handicap accessible.