WASHINGTON -- Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley has selected U.S. Army Garrison Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, as the gold winner in the 2019 Army Communities of Excellence competition for Regular Army installations.

Taking top honors as the Army National Guard gold winner is the Wisconsin National Guard. The Army Reserve gold winner is the 88th Readiness Division, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

Army announced ACOE winners March 26.

This is the seventh time that Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield has won the Army Communities of Excellence top prize. Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield won gold in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015. The installation received a bronze award in 2018.

Also winning in the Army Communities of Excellence competition in the Regular Army installation category are USAG Fort Wainwright, Alaska; silver; USAG Fort McCoy and USAG Fort Riley, Kansas, bronze; USAG Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, and USAG Fort Drum, New York, honorable mention.

Winning silver for the Army National Guard is the Louisiana National Guard. The Illinois National Guard won bronze. Receiving honorable mention is the North Carolina National Guard.

The 1st Mission Support Command, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, is the silver winner in the Army Reserve category. The 416th Theater Engineer Command, Darien, Illinois, received honorable mention.

Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield will represent the Army in competition with other military services for the Department of Defense Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence, which recognizes outstanding efforts in the operations and maintenance of U.S. military installations.

Effective with the 2019 ACOE Award winners, leaders will conduct local ceremonies instead of conducting a ceremony in the Pentagon. Local award ceremonies include broader participation and recognition of those who contributed to the excellence of the installation.

The Army Communities of Excellence program recognizes performance excellence in installation management. The program highlights continuous business process improvement, individual innovation, groundbreaking initiatives, and dedication to efficiency, effectiveness and customer care. These efforts directly affect the quality of support to Soldiers, families, civilian employees and retirees on Army installations.

The ACOE program uses the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program Criteria for Performance Excellence -- an internationally recognized integrated management system -- to evaluate the competing installations. The criteria are the basis for performance excellence recognition programs worldwide and in federal agencies including the U.S. Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Coast Guard. Participants are judged against this common standard and not against each other.

The ACOE program supports reform by using a holistic approach emphasizing the alignment of business operations using an Integrated Management System. The system is tailored for today's Army installations to enhance efficiencies, innovation, sustainability and continuous process improvement in providing community members excellent services and facilities in a quality environment.