FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Safety leadership and employees were presented the Sgt. Maj. Wardell B. Turner Award during a ceremony outside the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence headquarters building June 16.
Lt. Col. Phillip Lenz, DPS director, Sgt. Maj. Jesus Goytia, DPS sergeant major, and numerous law enforcement, security, firefighting and administrative personnel received the award from then-garrison commander, Col. Whitney B. Gardner.
The Army announced Fort Rucker DPS as the winner of the new award, deeming it the best emergency services directorate in the Army, in late January.
Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, and Vince Grewatz, director of Installation Management Command - Training, spoke at the event to congratulate the team.
Francis said he and the USAACE command team couldn’t be more proud of the DPS team for what they do for the installation.
“Fort Rucker is an incredible place to train – we train the best aviators in the world,” he said. “We have a lot of hardware sitting on five airfields and a lot of folks coming here for training – we train folks from more than 47 different nations. The requirement to run our fire departments, to run our security and all the other functions that DPS does is absolutely critical to our mission. We could not execute the mission we do here every day without the team standing behind me. I’m proud of each and every one of you.
“Because you’re the first to get this award, that means that’s just the way you are,” Francis added. “You are leading the charge – you do it every day and your commitment to excellence is absolutely Above the Best. Congratulations!”
Grewatz said he was happy to be able to attend the ceremony, and to meet the first winners of the award in person.
The way you take care of the community and take care of each other is laudable,” he said. “This is an amazing achievement.
“The last year has been a really difficult one, and we’ve required a lot more of you than we have in the past. You responded magnificently, and you’ve earned this award and set the standard,” Grewatz added. “This is well deserved – it’s absolutely phenomenal the way you pulled together. You epitomize the teamwork that installation management brings in each of your capacities because you bring a wealth of individual skills and overall organizational capability to this installation and to the community.”
Lenz said the entire community can take pride in the accomplishment.
“This is not just our award – this is a community award,” he said. “I’ve always believed it takes a village, a community, to make it happen. This is a monumental accomplishment to what we do each day. We have our security officers on the gates every day under the most austere conditions. We have incredible firefighters – on the military and civilian sides. Military policemen, Department of the Army civilian police, physical security inspectors, administrative technicians, information technology specialists – just an incredible team.
“The really special piece is we competed against 72 other installations across the whole U.S. Army,” Lenz added. “We won this the first time through. We beat out (the Army’s largest installations) – and let’s be real, they have much bigger missions than we do and a lot more challenges than we have.
“Each one of you is dedicated to the overall mission and this award is a tribute to every one of you standing behind me. It doesn’t matter if you wear a green uniform or a blue uniform, military or civilian, and it doesn’t matter what you do – we made it happen and we’re going to continue to do better,” he added.
Lenz also recognized the installation’s partners from surrounding Wiregrass communities for their help in successfully carrying out the DPS mission.
“If anything ever happens, and it has happened, our brothers and sisters in arms outside of the gates are always right there for us each and every step of the way,” he added. “We can’t do it without them.”